The Poets

November 09, 2011

Her Kind - A Sexton Poem

Yep, yep … it was on this day in 1928 that the beautiful Anne Sexton was born. Along with her friend Plath, she’s one of the most recognized of the Confessional poets.

Collectively speaking, her poetry is a vivid reflection of her personal struggles internally and externally (she had a very troubled life).

What I learned from Sexton was that poetry doesn’t have to revolve around flowers and bumblebees and golden suns … no, poetry can touch the dark, deep internal recesses of one’s own writhing pains and struggles … but I also learned, after having learned she killed herself, that it can be very, very dangerous to do so.

Anyhow, with that said, I celebrate the poet’s birth, not death.

Now it’s very rare to find poems written by the Confessional generation that are written with a rhyming format. Needless to say, I was shocked, and utterly delighted, to find that Sexton had such a poem- it’s call Her Kind.

In it Sexton expresses, indirectly, of course, three aspects of her life that she seems unhappy with: that some have deemed her to be crazy like a witch (1st stanza); that others have tried to enslave her as a house wife (2nd stanza); and then there’s the life of adultery. Though a tragic reflection of self, it’s a great poem. Check it out.

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

Of the Poem (Poetic Parameters)

Stanza: Septet (i.e. 7 lines per stanza)

Meter: Mixed
1st stanza’s syllable count: 8 9 9 9 9 11 5
2nd stanza’s syllable count: 9 9 9 9 10 10 5
3rd stanza’s syllable count: 9 11 9 7 8 11 5

Rhyme Scheme: ababcba (per stanza); and, of course, the refrain I have been her kind.

If you'd like to hear Sexton read this piece, click this link ...


BerlinerinPoet said...

Anne Sexton is amazing! You always make me go back and reread so many good ones. Thanks!

niraja said...

very heart touching poem ,
songs and poems are the most powerful way to express our emotions .
thanks for this ,

As of April 9th, 2010