Thursday, June 12, 2008

Feminist Fairy Tales

I was thinking about Anne Sexton this morning. She was a troubled poet. I know all poets must seem to have their dark side. Perhaps that's the ingredient for writing anything, to have a little dark living in the corners of your head. The only way it seems fit to share some of Sexton's work is to tell you about her life. She was a model. She was a daughter, a sister, a mother, a temporary wife, and a writer. I think I love her fairy tales the best. These aren't your ordinary run of the mill frightening witches and demons. These characters are the monsters that live in all our fears, tearing apart your soul if you let them because they are close to you and know all your secrets. Cinderella's step mother, Riding Hood's granny, all people known to them but best poised to destroy them, from the inside out if necessary. Anne was sophiscated, a feminist when it was cool to be a feminist and you can tell by reading her work that there was a struggle between the dark and the light. Let me give you a taste;

When Man Enters Woman

When man
enters woman,
like the surf biting the shore,
again and again,
and the woman opens her mouth in pleasure
and her teeth gleam
like the alphabet,
Logos appears milking a star,
and the man
inside of woman
ties a knot
so that they will
never again be separate
and the woman
climbs into a flower
and swallows its stem
and Logos appears
and unleashed their rivers.

This man,
this woman
with their double hunger,
have tried to reach through
the curtain of God
and briefly they have,
though God
in His perversity
unties the knot.

My favorite book? Oh it would have to be All My Pretty Ones. She won the ulitzer prize for Live or Die and those poems are a little less dark and a little less power. As women we have to ration out power like throwing candy at some parade. Too much power and we are demon bitches and too little and we are open for the taking. It's a tight rope walk isn't it? Kindness is often mistaken for weakness and when you are a woman in today's society weakness is not an option. My mother was perfect at the balance. She ran her own business, she educated herself, she handled life. My father walked in the room and she needed him for something and while she was doing it she was a beauty. Manipulation 101 and I learned at the feet of the master.

Welcome Morning

There is joy
in all:
in the hair I brush each morning,
in the Cannon towel, newly washed,
that I rub my body with each morning,
in the chapel of eggs I cook
each morning,
in the outcry from the kettle
that heats my coffee
each morning,
in the spoon and the chair
that cry "hello there, Anne"
each morning,
in the godhead of the table
that I set my silver, plate, cup upon
each morning.

All this is God,
right here in my pea-green house
each morning
and I mean,
though often forget,
to give thanks,
to faint down by the kitchen table
in a prayer of rejoicing
as the holy birds at the kitchen window
peck into their marriage of seeds.

So while I think of it,
let me paint a thank-you on my palm
for this God, this laughter of the morning,
lest it go unspoken.

The Joy that isn't shared, I've heard,
dies young.

Today I am going to stop and say thank you for everything. I don't often take the time to do that but in a few hours when I emerge from the studio to make some ice coffee and to take the time to make myself some jello, I am going to take the day and make it a day of thank you to God, to the universe. I felt full of thanks yesterday, I think that's when it started. I made a new design and I finally soldered something that looked like art. I had time for thank yous but the excitement takes over and pushes even the time for a thank you aside. Today I am wearing a new ring I just made this morning and the bead is so blue and so milky and so full of the sky that I am certain God was watching while I made it. If I have interested you with a little Sexton poetry, I would hope you would read the story of the woman who had sisters, One Eye, Two Eye, Three Eyes. It's one of my favorite poems but too long for here and perhaps if you went to look for it yourself you'll find something you loved about this troubled woman. Anne killed herself on October 4, 1974. When a woman who wins a Pulitzer, who has the great beauty of a china doll, who had children who loved her and she loved, who understood how the universe works enough to stop and say thank you and to share it with us, if this woman can't find a reason not to wake up tomorrow and breathe and create and love, is there any hope for the rest of us?

Enjoy the day, I am saying thank you for you also. If you are interested in my art, you can find it many places, at under the seller name POETSUMMER, at (I know, I know, the place that can suck anything artistic from your soul) and my own E Commerce site, You can email me at


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