[quote author=gutsywoman link=topic=6444.msg1681071#msg1681071 date=1280240542]
Wanting to Die
by Anne Sexton
Since you ask, most days I cannot remember.
I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage.
Then the almost unnameable lust returns.
Even then I have nothing against life.
I know well the grass blades you mention,
the furniture you have placed under the sun.
But suicides have a special language.
Like carpenters they want to know which tools.
They never ask why build.
Twice I have so simply declared myself,
have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy,
have taken on his craft, his magic.
In this way, heavy and thoughtful,
warmer than oil or water,
I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole.
I did not think of my body at needle point.
Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone.
Suicides have already betrayed the body.
Still-born, they don’t always die,
but dazzled, they can’t forget a drug so sweet
that even children would look on and smile.
To thrust all that life under your tongue!—
that, all by itself, becomes a passion.
Death’s a sad bone; bruised, you’d say,
and yet she waits for me, year after year,
to so delicately undo an old wound,
to empty my breath from its bad prison.
Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet,
raging at the fruit a pumped-up moon,
leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,
leaving the page of the book carelessly open,
something unsaid, the phone off the hook
and the love whatever it was, an infection.
I just wanted to discuss this poem. Without judgement or anything. You know...does it speak to you? I'm probably being seriously emo, but I totally get it. Anyway. What do you guys think?
Well, considering Sexton suffered from depression, was treated at McLean (the premier mental institution in the US, where Plath was also treated), and subsequently killed herself (carbon monoxide, car, garage) my interpretation is that this is her love song to death and lament of the pain of life. She feels like an outsider, incapable of enjoying what others seem so capable of enjoying--Life. Instead, Death, like a secret lover and obsession appears to offer her what Life can't. And yet she knows the absurdity of this because there are no promises in Death. We don't know what happens when we die anymore than we know what's going to happen when we live. But she is still incapable of fully engaging in Life and constantly longs for Death. To die is her choice and her choice alone. She will not make that choice for another nor will she allow someone else to choose for her.
This poem is very similar to Lady Lazarus by Plath, but without the anger that Plath was so good at bringing.