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Monday, July 14, 2014

"Music Swims Back to Me" by Anne Sexton

Anne Sexton (November 9, 1928 - October 4, 1974)
Anne Sexton (November 9, 1928 - October 4, 1974)

"Music Swims Back to Me"
BY ANNE SEXTON

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?

Anne Sexton, “Music Swims Back to Me” from The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981). Copyright © 1981 by Linda Gray Sexton and Loring Conant, Jr.

Anne Sexton quote

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