Monday, January 18, 2010

Her Kind

Tonight a very good friend of mine mentioned wanting to live in a cave one day. Well, not really, I don't suppose, but there are days I can relate to that idea. And then I remembered a poem by Anne Sexton: Her Kind. So here it is, for no particular reason other than that it is one of my favorite poems–and that it mentions a cave pantry, of sorts. And yes, even though this poem flirts with the idea of madness and death, which both took Sexton in the end, there are times that I have been that "possessed witch": rearranging the disaligned... misunderstood. I have been her kind. [Here is a recording of Sexton reading "Her Kind".] PHOTO of Anne Sexton, 1973–© Nancy Crampton.

Musician Peter Gabriel wrote "Mercy Street" about Sexton, which appeared on his "So" album in 1986, twelve years after her suicide.

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.
~ Anne Sexton

NOTE: "disaligned" is not an actual word in the English language but here its meaning seems to be self-evident.


AC said...

I've seen a home in a cave and it had a certain appeal. Of course, it's a total tourist trap now, but I imagine it was quite remote and peaceful while the original owners lived there.

Abby Rogers said...

I see that you have England listed as one of your interests! Perhaps you would like my blog:

As often as possible I will post photographs of glorious vistas, charming close-ups, and interesting tidbits of life in Great Britain for the pleasure of Anglophiles everywhere!

Catherine said...

Thanks AC for the cave link! The whole cave concept also inspired today's blog on hobbit pantries.

Best, Catherine