scroll down to poem text

Anne Sexton

Said The Poet To The Analyst

Jahnavi de Sousa


Said The Poet To The Analyst

By Anne Sexton

My business is words. Words are like labels,
or coins, or better, like swarming bees.
I confess I am only broken by the sources of things;
as if words were counted like dead bees in the attic,
unbuckled from their yellow eyes and their dry wings.
I must always forget how one word is able to pick
out another, to manner another, until I have got
something I might have said…
but did not.
Your business is watching my words. But I
admit nothing. I work with my best, for instance,
when I can write my praise for a nickel machine,
that one night in Nevada: telling how the magic jackpot
came clacking three bells out, over the lucky screen.
But if you should say this is something it is not,
then I grow weak, remembering how my hands felt funny
and ridiculous and crowded with all
the believing money.




Reprinted by permission of SLL/Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.
Copyright by Linda Gray Sexton and Loring Conant Jr. 1981.