Christmas Poems - Poems For Christmas - Christmas Eve

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Christmas Eve - Poem by Anne Sexton

Oh sharp diamond, my mother!
I could not count the cost
of all your faces, your moods-
that present that I lost.
Sweet girl, my deathbed,
my jewel-fingered lady,
your portrait flickered all night
by the bulbs of the tree.

Your face as calm as the moon
over a mannered sea,
presided at the family reunion,
the twelve grandchildren
you used to wear on your wrist,
a three-months-old baby,
a fat check you never wrote,
the red-haired toddler who danced the twist,
your aging daughters, each one a wife,
each one talking to the family cook,
each one avoiding your portrait,
each one aping your life.

Later, after the party,
after the house went to bed,
I sat up drinking the Christmas brandy,
watching your picture,
letting the tree move in and out of focus.
The bulbs vibrated.
They were a halo over your forehead.
Then they were a beehive,
blue, yellow, green, red;
each with its own juice, each hot and alive
stinging your face. But you did not move.
I continued to watch, forcing myself,
waiting, inexhaustible, thirty-five.

I wanted your eyes, like the shadows
of two small birds, to change.
But they did not age.
The smile that gathered me in, all wit,
all charm, was invincible.
Hour after hour I looked at your face
but I could not pull the roots out of it.
Then I watched how the sun hit your red sweater, your withered neck,
your badly painted flesh-pink skin.
You who led me by the nose, I saw you as you were.
Then I thought of your body
as one thinks of murder-

Then I said Mary-
Mary, Mary, forgive me
and then I touched a present for the child,
the last I bred before your death;
and then I touched my breast
and then I touched the floor
and then my breast again as if,
somehow, it were one of yours.


Comments about Christmas Eve by Anne Sexton

  • Gold Star - 11,562 Points Sylva-onyema Uba (2/23/2017 1:25:00 PM)

    my jewel - fingered lady.

    Nicely written.

    Sylva. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 27,732 Points Seamus O' Brian (12/26/2016 12:53:00 PM)

    The first three lines present the parameters of discussion, the infinite complexity of a human being, especially in the context of the many folds and textures of a mother-daughter relationship. So much of a life to contemplate in its fullness, especially in the face of its loss. How many memories are involved? How many different emotions?

    Sweeping, yet somewhat subtle in its power. But powerful, nonetheless. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 31,158 Points Tom Allport (12/26/2016 4:25:00 AM)

    a sense of loss and not knowing why? (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »

Poems About Christmas

  1. 1. A Child's Christmas In Wales , Dylan Thomas
  2. 2. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day , Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  3. 3. Christmas Carol , Sara Teasdale
  4. 4. Christmas Bells , Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  5. 5. Christmas Eve , Anne Sexton
  6. 6. A Family Christmas , Ernestine Northover
  7. 7. A Christmas Tree! A Christmas Tree! , David Keig
  8. 8. Jest 'Fore Christmas , Eugene Field
  9. 9. Christmas In India , Rudyard Kipling
  10. 10. A Christmas Ghost Story. , Thomas Hardy
  11. 11. Christmas - A Little Friend's Poem - Wri.. , Ernestine Northover
  12. 12. Christmas Party At The South Danbury Chu.. , Donald Hall
  13. 13. A Christmas Carol , William Topaz McGonagall
  14. 14. Remembrance Of Christmas Past , Judith Viorst
  15. 15. Christmas , John Clare
  16. 16. What Reminds You Of Christmas? , Ernestine Northover
  17. 17. Our Christmas Tree , Ernestine Northover
  18. 18. Sam's Christmas Pudding , Marriott Edgar
  19. 19. Lines For A Christmas Card , Hilaire Belloc
  20. 20. Christmas Spirit , Paul Moosberg
  21. 21. Having Lost My Sons, I Confront The Wrec.. , James Arlington Wright
  22. 22. Christmas Holidays , Thomas Hood
  23. 23. Christmas Fancies , Ella Wheeler Wilcox
  24. 24. Christmas - Senryus , Ernestine Northover
  25. 25. From The Short Story A Christmas Dream, .. , Louisa May Alcott
  26. 26. Christmas Is Really For The Children , Steve Turner
  27. 27. (727) Christmas Past , Melvina Germain
  28. 28. This Section Is A Christmas Tree , Vachel Lindsay
  29. 29. A Christmas Carol, Sung To The King In T.. , Robert Herrick
  30. 30. Music On Christmas Morning , Anne Brontë
  31. 31. The Christmas Night , Lucy Maud Montgomery
  32. 32. Christmas At Mel’s , C.J. Heck
  33. 33. A Tale Of Christmas Eve , William Topaz McGonagall
  34. 34. A Christmas Wish , David Keig
  35. 35. Baby's First Christmas (Children) , C.J. Heck
  36. 36. The Christmas-Box , Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  37. 37. Christmas At The Orphanage , Bill Knott
  38. 38. A Christmas Carol , George Wither
  39. 39. The Greatest Birthday (Christmas Chris.. , Udiah (witness to Yah)
  40. 40. A Hymn For Christmas Day , Thomas Chatterton
  41. 41. A White Christmas , Carla Jean Laglia Esely
  42. 42. Christmas , Henry Timrod
  43. 43. Modern Love Xxiii: 'Tis Christmas Weather , George Meredith
  44. 44. Christmas Treasures , Eugene Field
  45. 45. Christmas Spirit , Tess Gurney
  46. 46. The Cast Of Christmas Reassembles For Ea.. , Steve Turner
  47. 47. The House Of Christmas , Gilbert Keith Chesterton
  48. 48. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' Christmas Card(Being An .. , Dónall Dempsey
  49. 49. (728) Christmas Joy , Melvina Germain
  50. 50. The Christmas Goose , William Topaz McGonagall
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