Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Ambition Bird

So it has come to this
insomnia at 3:15 A.M.,
the clock tolling its engine

like a frog following
a sundial yet having an electric
seizure at the quarter hour.

The business of words keeps me awake.
I am drinking cocoa,
that warm brown mama.

I would like a simple life
yet all night I am laying
poems away in a long box.

It is my immortality box,
my lay-away plan,
my coffin.

All night dark wings
flopping in my heart.
Each an ambition bird.

The bird wants to be dropped
from a high place like Tallahatchie Bridge.

He wants to light a kitchen match
and immolate himself.

He wants to fly into the hand of Michelangelo
and dome out painted on a ceiling.

He wants to pierce the hornet's nest
and come out with a long godhead.

He wants to take bread and wine
and bring forth a man happily floating in the Caribbean.

He wants to be pressed out like a key
so he can unlock the Magi.

He wants to take leave among strangers
passing out bits of his heart like hors d'oeuvres.

He wants to die changing his clothes
and bolt for the sun like a diamond.

He wants, I want.
Dear God, wouldn't it be
good enough to just drink cocoa?

I must get a new bird
and a new immortality box.
There is folly enough inside this one.



--Anne Sexton

4 comments:

early hours of sky said...

Amen--god I love her.

wickedpen said...

one of my favorites...

Simmons B. Buntin said...

That is pretty brilliant; I haven't read much Sexton. And I really like the stanza changes to indicate the change in the poem; form following function, so to speak. Thanks.

Ann said...

When I read Sexton, I always want to edit her. With this one, I'm also wondering if the Talahatchie Bridge is the same one that Billie Jo jumped off (or threw something over?)