Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Tuesday Platform: These January Days...

January is a strange month. The festivities and parties are over and the appetite for newness is subsumed as the thought sets in that even with a change of a numeral, the things essentially stay the same. It's interesting to measure the weight of our resolutions and to find some semblance of warmth in this cold weather. I am sharing a poem which I hope all of you would relate to and enjoy in its light and gloom. It's an Anne Sexton verse brimming with the humanity of selfhood as well as a reflection on bereavement and loss.

Letter Written During a January Northeaster


It is snowing, grotesquely snowing
upon the small faces of the dead.
Those dear loudmouths, gone for over a year,
buried side by side
like little wrens.
But why should I complain?
The dead turn over casually,
            Good! No visitors today.
My window, which is not a grave,
is dark with my fierce concentration
and too much snowing
and too much silence.
The snow has quietness in it; no songs,
no smells, no shouts nor traffic.
When I speak
my own voice shocks me.


I have invented a lie,
there is no other day but Monday.
It seems reasonable to pretend
that I could change the day
like a pair of socks.
To tell the truth
days are all the same size
and words aren’t much company.
If I were sick, I’d be a child,
tucked in under the woolens, sipping my broth.
As it is,
the days are not worth grabbing
or lying about.


It would be pleasant to be drunk:
faithless to my own tongue and hands,
giving up the boundaries
for the heroic gin.
Dead drunk
is the term I think of,
neither cool nor warm,
without a head or a foot.
To be drunk is to be intimate with a fool.
I will try it shortly.


Just yesterday,
twenty eight men aboard a damaged radar tower
foundered down seventy miles off the coast.
Immediately their hearts slammed shut.
The storm would not cough them up.
Today they are whispering over Sonar.
Small voice,
what do you say?
Aside from the going down, the awful wrench,
The pulleys and hooks and the black tongue . . .
What are your headquarters?
Are they kind?


It must be Friday by now.
I admit I have been lying.
Days don’t freeze
And to say that the snow has quietness in it
is to ignore the possibilities of the word.
Only the tree has quietness in it;
quiet as a pair of antlers
waiting on the cabin wall,
quiet as the crucifix,
pounded out years ago like a handmade shoe.
Someone once
told an elephant to stand still.
That’s why trees remain quiet all winter.
They’re not going anywhere.


where are your letters?
The mailman is an impostor.
He is actually my grandfather.
He floats far off in the storm
with his nicotine mustache and a bagful of nickels.
His legs stumble through
baskets of eyelashes.
Like all the dead
he picks up his disguise,
shakes it off and slowly pulls down the shade,
fading out like an old movie.
Now he is gone
as you are gone.
But he belongs to me like lost baggage.

—Anne Sexton
(from The Hudson Review, Vol. XV, Number 2, Summer 1962)

This is Anmol (alias HA) and this is my first time hosting for this beautiful Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. For the Tuesday Platform, share one link to a verse, old or new, that you would like all of us to read. While you share, also visit the linked-up verses of others and enjoy the poetic company of many diverse voices and lives. Do not forget to visit later in the week for the late bloomers too. I look forward to reading you all. Happy Tuesday!


Sanaa Rizvi said...

An absolutely fantastic poem to ponder and begin the day with!💞 I have never come across anything as beautiful and dark as this one before.. there is an unmistakable hint of ache and longing in the words and I was particularly caught by "To be drunk is to be intimate with a fool."

Thank you so much for hosting us, Anmol 😊

Kerry O'Connor said...

Such a unique poem! I love the Sexton's voice. Thanks for sharing, Anmol.

I am posting a poem I wrote a few weeks ago - a Friday 55.
Just a note that this is my first week back at work, so I may only complete my comments at a later stage.. but wishing everyone a lovely Tuesday.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

HA, what a GLORIOUS and astonishing poem to contemplate as we arrive at Tuesday, having successfully navigated another Monday. So lovely to see you hosting. I love Anne Sexton's voice in this poem, it strikes a chord with my own gloomy Tuesday musings. I will be back.

brudberg said...

I love the poem, and there is something so intensely Mondayish about January... me mood is like the weather.... grey

I link a poem I wrote a few days ago... and will be back to read later.

Kim M. Russell said...

Oh, I agree, Anmol, that January is a strange month and with Bjorn's comment that there is something Mondayish about this month! I really enjoyed the Anne Sexton poem and the track by Simon and Garfunkel, which was unknown to me. I'll be over soon to link up.

Frank J. Tassone said...

It's like the weight of winter settles in this month, at least in the Northern Hemisphere! Thanks, Anmol (HA) for the compelling poem by Anne Sexton. Bjorn's right: a month of Mondays, indeed!

Anmol (HA) said...

Thanks to all of you for linking up and sharing your written word. As always, it's been a pleasure reading you all. I am glad that many of you enjoyed the Sexton verse. :-)

Jim said...

I like Anne Sexton's letter series, I was sorry they turned out with a heart broken one. I have written some but not a series

WildChild47 said...

Welcome to the Garden Anmol - and thank you for hosting Tuesdays. :)

What a wonderful poem by Sexton - fascinating form and context, filled with all that is of her particular voice and understandings. I have really enjoyed sitting with this poem, and am reminded to dive into her collected works, waiting for my attention and time.

I'm not posting this week - late for words and chasing butterfly ideas in a January that is playing at world yo-yo championships, but just wanted to say "hi and thanks" :)

Susie Clevenger said...

HA...thank you for sharing such a wonderful poem. Thank you for providing inspiration!