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luís soares

Blog do escritor Luís Soares

Anne Sexton - 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,
the 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 come 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 just to drink cocoa?
 
I must get a new bird
and a new immortality box.
There is folly enough inside this one.

Anne Sexton - Little Girl, My String Bean, My Lovely Woman

 

My daughter, at eleven

(almost twelve), is like a garden.

 

Oh, darling! Born in that sweet birthday suit

and having owned it and known it for so long,

now you must watch high noon enter -

noon, that ghost hour.

Oh, funny little girl – this one under a blueberry sky,

this one! How can I say that I've known

just what you know and just where you are?

 

It's not a strange place, this odd home

where your face sits in my hand

so full of distance,

so full of its immediate fever.

The summer has seized you,

as when, last month in Amalfi, I saw

lemons as large as your desk-side globe -

that miniature map of the world -

and I could mention, too,

the market stalls of mushrooms

and garlic buds all engorged.

Or I think even of the orchard next door,

where the berries are done

and the apples are beginning to swell.

And once, with our first backyard,

I remember I planted an acre of yellow beans

we couldn't eat.

 

Oh, little girl,

my stringbean,

how do you grow?

You grow this way.

You are too many to eat.

 

I hear

as in a dream

the conversation of the old wives

speaking of womanhood.

I remember that I heard nothing myself.

I was alone.

I waited like a target.

 

Let high noon enter –

the hour of the ghosts.

Once the Romans believed

that noon was the ghost hour,

and I can believe it, too,

under that startling sun,

and someday they will come to you,

someday, men bare to the waist, young Romans

at noon where they belong,

with ladders and hammers

while no one sleeps.

 

But before they enter

I will have said,

Your bones are lovely,

and before their strange hands

there was always this hand that formed.

 

Oh, darling, let your body in,

let it tie you in,

in comfort.

What I want to say, Linda,

is that women are born twice.

 

If I could have watched you grow

as a magical mother might,

if I could have seen through my magical transparent belly,

there would have been such a ripening within:

your embryo,

the seed taking on its own,

life clapping the bedpost,

bones from the pond,

thumbs and two mysterious eyes,

the awfully human head,

the heart jumping like a puppy,

the important lungs,

the becoming -

while it becomes!

as it does now,

a world of its own,

a delicate place.

 

I say hello

to such shakes and knockings and high jinks,

such music, such sprouts,

such dancing-mad-bears of music,

such necessary sugar,

such goings-on!

 

Oh, little girl,

my stringbean,

how do you grow?

You grow this way.

You are too many to eat.

 

What I want to say, Linda,

is that there is nothing in your body that lies.

All that is new is telling the truth.

I'm here, that somebody else,

an old tree in the background.

 

Darling,

stand still at your door,

sure of yourself, a white stone, a good stone -

as exceptional as laughter

you will strike fire,

that new thing!

Anne Sexton - The Kite

Cape Cod, 1954-1959

 

Here in front of the summer hotel
the beach waits like an altar.
We are lying on a cloth of sand
while the Atlantic noon stains
the world in light.
                                 It was much the same
five years ago here. I remember
how Ezio Pinza was flying a kite
for the children. None of us noticed
it then. The pleated lady
was still a nest of her knitting.
Four pouchy fellows kept their policy
of gin and tonic while trading some money.
The parasol girls slept, sun-sitting
their lovely years. No one thought
how precious it was, or even how funny
the festival seemed, square rigged in the air.
The air was a season they had bought,
like the cloth of sand.
                                        I’ve been waiting
on this private stretch of summer land,
counting these five years and wondering why.
I mean, it was different that time
with Ezio Pinza flying a kite.
Maybe, after all, he knew something more
and was right.

Anne Sexton - January 24th

Originality is important.

 

I am alone here in my own mind.

There is no map

and there is no road.

It is one of a kind

just as yours is.

It's in a vapor.  It's in a flap.

It makes jelly.  It chews toads.

It's a dummy. It's a whiz.

Sometimes I have to hunt her down.

Sometimes I have to track her.

Sometimes I hold her still and use a nutcracker.

 

Such conceit!  Such maggoty thoughts,

such an enormous con

just cracks me up.

My brown study will do me in

gushing out of me cold or hot.

Yet I'd risk my life

on that dilly dally buttercup

called dreams.  She of the origin,

she of the primal crack, she of the boiling

beginning, she of the riddle, she keeps me here,

toiling and toiling.

Anne Sexton - For My Lover Returning To His Wife

She is all there.
She was melted carefully down for you
and cast up from your childhood,
cast up from your one hundred favorite aggies.

 

She has always been there, my darling.
She is, in fact, exquisite.
Fireworks in the dull middle of February
and as real as a cast-iron pot.

 

Let’s face it, I have been momentary.
A luxury. A bright red sloop in the harbor.
My hair rising like smoke from the car window.
Littleneck clams out of season.

 

She is more than that. She is your have to have,
has grown you your practical your tropical growth.
This is not an experiment. She is all harmony.
She sees to oars and oarlocks for the dinghy,

 

has placed wild flowers at the window at breakfast,
sat by the potter’s wheel at midday,
set forth three children under the moon,
three cherubs drawn by Michelangelo,

 

done this with her legs spread out
in the terrible months in the chapel.
If you glance up, the children are there
like delicate balloons resting on the ceiling.

 

She has also carried each one down the hall
after supper, their heads privately bent,
two legs protesting, person to person
her face flushed with a song and their little sleep.

 

I give you back your heart.
I give you permission—

 

for the fuse inside her, throbbing
angrily in the dirt, for the bitch in her
and the burying of her wound—
for the burying of her small red wound alive—

 

for the pale flickering flare under her ribs,
for the drunken sailor who waits in her left pulse,
for the mother’s knee, for the stockings,
for the garter belt, for the call—

 

the curious call
when you will burrow in arms and breasts
and tug at the orange ribbon in her hair
and answer the call, the curious call.

 

She is so naked and singular.
She is the sum of yourself and your dream.
Climb her like a monument, step after step.
She is solid


.
As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off.

Anne Sexton - Two Hands

From the sea came a hand,
ignorant as a penny,
troubled with the salt of its mother,
mute with the silence of the fishes,
quick with the altars of the tides,
and God reached out of His mouth
and called it man.
Up came the other hand
and God called it woman.
The hands applauded
And this was no sin.
It was as it was meant to be.

 

I see them roaming the streets:
Levi complaining about his mattress,
Sarah studying a beetle,
Mandrake holding his coffee mug,
Sally playing the drum at a football game,
John closing the eyes of the dying woman,
and some who are in prison,
even the prison of their bodies,
as Christ was prisoned in His body
until the triumph came.

 

Unwind hands,
you angel webs,
unwind like the coil of a jumping jack,
cup together and let yourselves fill up with sun
and applaud, world,
applaud.

Anne Sexton - Rapunzel

A woman
who loves a woman
is forever young.
The mentor
and the student
feed off each other.
Many a girl
had an old aunt
who locked her in the study
to keep the boys away.
They would play rummy
or lie on the couch
and touch and touch.
Old breast against young breast…

 

Let your dress fall down your shoulder,
come touch a copy of you
for I am at the mercy of rain,
for I have left the three Christs of Ypsilanti
for I have left the long naps of Ann Arbor
and the church spires have turned to stumps.
The sea bangs into my cloister
for the politicians are dying,
and dying so hold me, my young dear,
hold me…


The yellow rose will turn to cinder
and New York City will fall in
before we are done so hold me,
my young dear, hold me.
Put your pale arms around my neck.
Let me hold your heart like a flower
lest it bloom and collapse.
Give me your skin
as sheer as a cobweb,
let me open it up
and listen in and scoop out the dark.
Give me your nether lips
all puffy with their art
and I will give you angel fire in return.
We are two clouds
glistening in the bottle glass.
We are two birds
washing in the same mirror.
We were fair game
but we have kept out of the cesspool.
We are strong.
We are the good ones.
Do not discover us
for we lie together all in green
like pond weeds.
Hold me, my young dear, hold me.


They touch their delicate watches
one at a time.
They dance to the lute
two at a time.
They are as tender as bog moss.
They play mother-me-do
all day.
A woman
who loves a woman
is forever young.


Once there was a witch's garden
more beautiful than Eve's
with carrots growing like little fish,
with many tomatoes rich as frogs,
onions as ingrown as hearts,
the squash singing like a dolphin
and one patch given over wholly to magic -
rampion, a kind of salad root
a kind of harebell more potent than penicillin,
growing leaf by leaf, skin by skin.
as rapt and as fluid as Isadoran Duncan.
However the witch's garden was kept locked
and each day a woman who was with child
looked upon the rampion wildly,
fancying that she would die
if she could not have it.
Her husband feared for her welfare
and thus climbed into the garden
to fetch the life-giving tubers.


Ah ha, cried the witch,
whose proper name was Mother Gothel,
you are a thief and now you will die.
However they made a trade,
typical enough in those times.
He promised his child to Mother Gothel
so of course when it was born
she took the child away with her.
She gave the child the name Rapunzel,
another name for the life-giving rampion.
Because Rapunzel was a beautiful girl
Mother Gothel treasured her beyond all things.
As she grew older Mother Gothel thought:
None but I will ever see her or touch her.
She locked her in a tow without a door
or a staircase. It had only a high window.
When the witch wanted to enter she cried'
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair.
Rapunzel's hair fell to the ground like a rainbow.
It was as strong as a dandelion
and as strong as a dog leash.
Hand over hand she shinnied up
the hair like a sailor
and there in the stone-cold room,
as cold as a museum,
Mother Gothel cried:
Hold me, my young dear, hold me,
and thus they played mother-me-do.


Years later a prince came by
and heard Rapunzel singing her loneliness.
That song pierced his heart like a valentine
but he could find no way to get to her.
Like a chameleon he hid himself among the trees
and watched the witch ascend the swinging hair.
The next day he himself called out:
Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,
and thus they met and he declared his love.
What is this beast, she thought,
with muscles on his arms
like a bag of snakes?
What is this moss on his legs?
What prickly plant grows on his cheeks?
What is this voice as deep as a dog?
Yet he dazzled her with his answers.
Yet he dazzled her with his dancing stick.
They lay together upon the yellowy threads,
swimming through them
like minnows through kelp
and they sang out benedictions like the Pope.


Each day he brought her a skein of silk
to fashion a ladder so they could both escape.
But Mother Gothel discovered the plot
and cut off Rapunzel's hair to her ears
and took her into the forest to repent.
When the prince came the witch fastened
the hair to a hook and let it down.
When he saw Rapunzel had been banished
he flung himself out of the tower, a side of beef.
He was blinded by thorns that prickled him like tacks.
As blind as Oedipus he wandered for years
until he heard a song that pierced his heart
like that long-ago valentine.
As he kissed Rapunzel her tears fell on his eyes
and in the manner of such cure-alls
his sight was suddenly restored.


They lived happily as you might expect
proving that mother-me-do
can be outgrown,
just as the fish on Friday,
just as a tricycle.
The world, some say,
is made up of couples.
A rose must have a stem.


As for Mother Gothel,
her heart shrank to the size of a pin,
never again to say: Hold me, my young dear,
hold me,
and only as she dreamed of the yellow hair
did moonlight sift into her mouth.

Anne Sexton - Said The Poet To The Analyst

My business is words. Words are like labels,
or coins, or better, like swarming bees.
I confess I am only broken by the sources of things;
as if words were counted like dead bees in the attic,
unbuckled from their yellow eyes and their dry wings.
I must always forget how one word is able to pick
out another, to manner another, until I have got
something I might have said…
but did not.

 

Your business is watching my words. But I
admit nothing. I work with my best, for instance,
when I can write my praise for a nickel machine,
that one night in Nevada: telling how the magic jackpot
came clacking three bells out, over the lucky screen.
But if you should say this is something it is not,
then I grow weak, remembering how my hands felt funny
and ridiculous and crowded with all
the believing money.

Anne Sexton - The Poet Of Ignorance

Perhaps the earth is floating,
I do not know.
Perhaps the stars are little paper cutups
made by some giant scissors,
I do not know.
Perhaps the moon is a frozen tear,
I do not know.
Perhaps God is only a deep voice
heard by the deaf,
I do not know.

 

Perhaps I am no one.
True, I have a body
and I cannot escape from it.
I would like to fly out of my head,
but that is out of the question.
It is written on the tablet of destiny
that I am stuck here in this human form.
That being the case
I would like to call attention to my problem.

 

There is an animal inside me,
clutching fast to my heart,
a huge crab.
The doctors of Boston
have thrown up their hands.
They have tried scalpels,
needles, poison gasses and the like.
The crab remains.
It is a great weight.
I try to forget it, go about my business,
cook the broccoli, open the shut books,
brush my teeth and tie my shoes.
I have tried prayer
but as I pray the crab grips harder
and the pain enlarges.

 

I had a dream once,
perhaps it was a dream,
that the crab was my ignorance of God.
But who am I to believe in dreams?

Anne Sexton - Music Swims Back To Me

Wait Mister. Which way is home?
They turned the light out
and the dark is moving in the corner.
There are no sign posts in this room,
four ladies, over eighty,
in diapers every one of them.
La la la, Oh music swims back to me
and I can feel the tune they played
the night they left me
in this private institution on a hill.

 

Imagine it. A radio playing
and everyone here was crazy.
I liked it and danced in a circle.
Music pours over the sense
and in a funny way
music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better;
remembers the first night here.
It was the strangled cold of November;
even the stars were strapped in the sky
and that moon too bright
forking through the bars to stick me
with a singing in the head.
I have forgotten all the rest.

 

They lock me in this chair at eight a.m.
and there are no signs to tell the way,
just the radio beating to itself
and the song that remembers
more than I. Oh, la la la,
this music swims back to me.
The night I came I danced a circle
and was not afraid.
Mister?