Anne Sexton

I’ve always felt that Sylvia Plath’s work was much more compelling than her contemporary, Anne Sexton, though they seem equally unhappy. But I saw a poem of Sexton’s from Paris Review recently that I like, though I still think Plath is far the better poet.

Here is the poem–I especially like it up until God slips in:

There is an animal inside me,
clutching fast to my heart,
a huge crab.
The doctors of Boston
have thrown up their hands.
They have tried scalpels,
needles, poison gases and the like.
The crab remains.
It is a great weight.
I try to forget it, go about my business,

cook the broccoli, open and shut books,
brush my teeth and tie my shoes.
I have tried prayer
but as I pray the crab grips harder
and the pain enlarges.

I had a dream once,
perhaps it was a dream,
that the crab was my ignorance of God.
But who am I to believe in dreams?

Anne Sexton, from The Poet of Ignorance

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