Anne Sexton / Tale of Decembers

Posted on December 4, 2014 by


Duncan_Campbell-tur_696121a© Duncan Campbell

December 4th

And where did we meet?
Was it in London on Carnaby Street?
Was it in Paris on the Left Bank?
That there that I can thank?

No. It was Harvard Square
at the kiosk with both of us crying.
I can thank that there —
the day Jack Kennedy was dying.

And one hour later he was dead.
The brains fell out of his dazzling head.
And we cried and drank our whiskey straight
and the world remembers the date, the date.

And we both wrote poems we couldn’t write
and cried together the whole long night
and fell in love with a delicate breath
on the eve that great men call for death.


December 5th


This is the last picture page
of the calendar.
Now I feel my age,
watching the feverish birds outside
pocketing grain in their beaks.
The wind is bizarre.
The wind goes boo, boo, boo at my side
and the kitchen faucet leaks.

This is the last leaf
in the year’s book.
Now I come to grief
as the earth’s breast goes hard and mean
and hay is packed for the manger.

cosmina_stratan_02© Alex GâlmeanuCosmina Stratan, Bucureşti, 2013 (animated portraits)

December 6th

A light rain, as tranquil as an apple, today . . .
mild and supple and fat and fullblown sweet
like the last February 2nd on Groundhog Day.
He wouldn’t come out and we lay odds
that his Mickey Mouse nose would greet
us, that his coma wasn’t part of the gods.

pat-brassington© Pat Brassington, Wrench (2013)

December 7th

Each rock is news.
Each has arrived.
The birds, those beggars, are hardly alive,
feathers like stone and the sealed in food.
Owls force mice into the open. Owls thrive.
The ice will do the birds in, or come unglued

Clown-3871-3bwweb-819x1024© Justin Harris, Project Phobia

December 8th

In winter without you I send
a Florida postcard to myself

xa193-1© Paul Cocksedge, BourrasqueGlowing pieces of paper blowing in the wind

December 9th

Next they manufactured you
into an Aero-medic
who placed together
shot off pieces
of men. Some were sent off
too dead to be sick.

But I wrote no diary
for that time then
and you say what you
do today is worse.
Today you unload the bodies of men


Las Meninas, NM, 1987(Las Meninas)

© Joel-Peter Witkin

December 16th
Once upon a time
you grew up in a bedroom the size of a dime
and shared it with your sister.