Anne Sexton


Anne Sexton (1928-1974) was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet born in Newton, Massachusetts. Her poems detail her struggles with bipolar disorder and depression as well as her home life and relationships. Source

The Truth the Dead Know

For my mother, born March 1902, died March 1959

and my father, born February 1900, died June 1959


Gone, I say and walk from church,   

refusing the stiff procession to the grave,   

letting the dead ride alone in the hearse.   

It is June. I am tired of being brave.


We drive to the Cape. I cultivate

myself where the sun gutters from the sky,   

where the sea swings in like an iron gate

and we touch. In another country people die.


My darling, the wind falls in like stones

from the whitehearted water and when we touch   

we enter touch entirely. No one’s alone.

Men kill for this, or for as much.


And what of the dead? They lie without shoes   

in their stone boats. They are more like stone

than the sea would be if it stopped. They refuse   

to be blessed, throat, eye and knucklebone.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Death & Loss


Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


a break between words within a metrical foot


a meditation on death, often in thoughtful mourning lamentation

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”