Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.
Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.
Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren't good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.
But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
~ Anne Sexton ~
1928 - 1974
Anne Sexton, acclaimed confessional poet, was the 1967 Pulitzer Prize winner for poetry. A close friend of poet Maxine Kumin, and a colleague and friend of Sylvia Path, Sexton wrote poetry about her life as a woman, her depression and torment. It was poetry that kept her alive: she suffered from mental illness and alcoholism for years, making 2 attmepts on her life. Despite her success as a poet and speaker, she finally did kill herself at age 46 in the garage of her MA home; death by carbon monoxide poisoning.
University of Pennsylvania, Photographs of American Poetry Review Records,
Words: How important they are...these utterances which keep us connected and give us language by which we speak, write, teach, learn, invent, search, collaborate, find commonality and differences, create community, share lives, and make love. These most enchanting of tools can become the most hurtful at the turn of a letter or tone. We are always charged with remembering how powerful words can be, how selection is critical to the moment, to the truth, and to the heart.