Wednesday, January 10, 2007

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


Anne said...

Oh, I hadn't read this one in ages and I'd forgotten how much I love it!

wickedpen said...

One of my favorites...

wickedpen said...
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Anonymous said...

What an ending. Thanks for posting the Sexton.

Suzanne said...

My favorite of Sexton's.

Anonymous said...

I listened to the audio recording of this recently. Awesome.

A. D. said...


Suzanne said...


Sheryl said...

Thank you!

C. Dale said...

Wow. It has been a long time since I read this poem. Thanks for reminding me of it.

Suzanne said...

My pleasure.