Intrepid Girl Reporter


Monday, 12/7: no translating
December 7, 2009, 8:52 pm
Filed under: poetry

Generally, when I find a poem that I like – especially if it is a) by someone famous and b) about some sort of neurotic female figure – what I learn is that it has already been discovered a thousand times before, its pithiest quotes appropriated by girls for their LiveJournal headings in 2002.

As the woman who is probably my favorite author forever once said:

I know now that almost everyone wonders something like that, sooner or later and no matter what he or she is doing, but one of the mixed blessings of being twenty and twenty-one and even twenty-three is the conviction that nothing like this, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, has ever happened to anyone before.

Remarkably, however, a Google search for the complete text of Anne Sexton’s “Love Song” reveals only two pages of results – this amid the fact that Madonna (Madonna!) apparently cribbed from it for a poem she “wrote” for her bodyguard. (Despite that, I still like it.)

Here is my attempt to add one more source to the mix.

LOVE SONG

I was
the girl of the chain letter,
the girl full of talk of coffins and keyholes,
the one of the telephone bills,
the wrinkled photo and the lost connections,
the one who kept saying–
Listen! Listen!
We must never! We must never!

and all those things…

the one
with her eyes half under her coat,
with her large gun-metal blue eyes,
with the thin vein at the bend of her neck
that hummed like a tuning fork,
with her shoulders as bare as a building,
with her thin foot and her thin toes,
with an old red hook in her mouth,
the mouth that kept bleeding
in the terrible fields of her soul…

the one
who kept dropping off to sleep,
as old as a stone she was,
each hand like a piece of cement,
for hours and hours
and then she’d wake,
after the small death,
and then she’d be as soft as,
as delicate as…

as soft and delicate as
an excess of light,
with nothing dangerous at all,
like a beggar who eats
or a mouse on a rooftop
with no trap doors,
with nothing more honest
than your hand in her hand–
with nobody, nobody but you!
and all those things.
nobody, nobody but you!
Oh! There is no translating
that ocean,
that music,
that theater,
that field of ponies.

– Anne Sexton

Advertisements

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



%d bloggers like this: