Christmas Poems - Poems For Christmas - Christmas Eve - Poem by Anne Sexton | Poem Hunter

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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 - 50,074 Points Petals Azureblue (12/10/2018 10:32:00 AM)

    It's like one empty chair
    around the Christmas dinner table
    this year....poignant. Expert penmanship(womanship)
    Thanks for positing. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 433 Points Bulent Karaalioglu (12/10/2018 8:54:00 AM)

    I understand your pain as someone who loses her mother. I am looking for my mother on special occasions. All the mother poems are beautiful (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 82,572 Points Anil Kumar Panda (12/10/2018 7:17:00 AM)

    A great poem on loss and pain. Sometimes memory of near and dear ones give much pain. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

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