Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday: In Celebration of My Uterus by Anne Sexton

Our bimonthly theme on Girl Power and Women’s Wiles comes to an end this week. And as such, it was a little difficult for me to choose who among my favorite female poets I would share with you today. After much deliberation, I decided on the gritty, outspoken, brilliant Anne Sexton who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1967 as my offering for Poetry Friday which is hosted this week by the beautiful Irene Latham of Live! Love! Explore!

The beautiful Anne Sexton. Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

Anne Sexton who was born in 1928 in Massachusetts and passed away in 1974 (two years before I was born) was famous for her confessional poetry. As a clinician, her poetry fascinates me to no end (as do Sylvia Plath’s and Emily Dickinson’s) as it explores the quietly-distinct unraveling of her mind – and it also fills me with immeasurable sadness.

Click on the image to be taken to the websource.

On occasion, poetry heals with its therapeutic (and somewhat damning) truths. At other times, it may drive you to the edge where the vast darkness may seem more comforting than the drab daily routines faced each day. While my absolute favorite Sexton poem is Rowing, I will be sharing another poem this week, which I feel is more apt, given our theme:

In Celebration of My Uterus
Everyone in me is a bird.
I am beating all my wings.   
They wanted to cut you out   
but they will not.
They said you were immeasurably empty   
but you are not.
They said you were sick unto dying   
but they were wrong.
You are singing like a school girl.   
You are not torn.
Sweet weight,
in celebration of the woman I am
and of the soul of the woman I am
and of the central creature and its delight   
I sing for you. I dare to live.
Hello, spirit. Hello, cup.
Fasten, cover. Cover that does contain.   
Hello to the soil of the fields.
Welcome, roots.
Each cell has a life.
There is enough here to please a nation.
It is enough that the populace own these goods.   
Any person, any commonwealth would say of it,   
“It is good this year that we may plant again   
and think forward to a harvest.
A blight had been forecast and has been cast out.”
Many women are singing together of this:   
one is in a shoe factory cursing the machine,   
one is at the aquarium tending a seal,   
one is dull at the wheel of her Ford,   
one is at the toll gate collecting,
one is tying the cord of a calf in Arizona,   
one is straddling a cello in Russia,
one is shifting pots on the stove in Egypt,
one is painting her bedroom walls moon color,   
one is dying but remembering a breakfast,   
one is stretching on her mat in Thailand,   
one is wiping the ass of her child,
one is staring out the window of a train   
in the middle of Wyoming and one is   
anywhere and some are everywhere and all   
seem to be singing, although some can not   
sing a note.
Sweet weight,
in celebration of the woman I am
let me carry a ten-foot scarf,
let me drum for the nineteen-year-olds,
let me carry bowls for the offering
(if that is my part).
Let me study the cardiovascular tissue,
let me examine the angular distance of meteors,   
let me suck on the stems of flowers
(if that is my part).
Let me make certain tribal figures
(if that is my part).
For this thing the body needs
let me sing
for the supper,   
for the kissing,   
for the correct   

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

17 comments on “Poetry Friday: In Celebration of My Uterus by Anne Sexton

  1. Such a powerful poem, Myra – thanks for sharing. And I appreciate your comments. Congrats on the series, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy Jama’s post today!


    • Hi Robyn! Did you mean the book ‘Insights from the Inside?’ Thanks for the well-wishes. And yes, you’re right, I did enjoy Jama’s post today! 🙂


  2. WOW! Hadn’t seen that one before. So powerful, poignant, and celebratory all at the same time.

    “I sing for you
    I dare to live”

    Thanks so much for sharing this, a brilliant choice to close out your Girl Power theme.


    • Hi Jama, I like how equally powerful and vulnerable Sexton’s voice can be. That duality of voice and complexity of perfectly articulated emotions are what make her stand out for me.


  3. Somehow, it also seems perfect for Mother’s Day . . .


  4. What a tour de force! I love the way she brings women from all over the world into the celebration. As Janet said, perfect for Mother’s Day (in a slant way).


    • Hi Violet, thanks so much for dropping by. That’s exactly what I was thinking when I read this poem aloud. 🙂


  5. Wow! I love how Sexton brings together the different lives of moms- the ordinary “wiping of asses” and and more “brilliant” studying of cardiovascular tissue. I’ll be thinking about this poem today as I run around doing the “ordinary” stuff- picking up prom corsages, buying groceries, washing cars…


    • Hi Carol, I hope that your son enjoyed his Senior prom. I suppose there is no such thing as the ‘mundane’ or the ‘ordinary’ – depends on how we perceive these everyday things. 🙂


  6. Sweet weight. Love how celebratory this is. Girl power, indeed! Thanks so much for sharing!


  7. I can take Sexton in small doses…she can be obvious and shrill, but this is truly one of her best,Myra – honest and powerful and triumphant. Very fitting for your theme!


    • Hi Tara, I know what you mean about being ‘shrill’ and ‘obvious’ on occasion. Yet she always reaches me and connects with something true within me. 🙂 You’re right, it IS a fitting closing piece for our theme.


  8. I love that Welcome, roots. And also (if that is my part). Reminds me slightly of the mood and refrain of Kenyon’s Let Evening Come. Thanks for sharing this!


  9. Pingback: List of Girl Power Themed Books and Poems: Picture Books, YA, Adult Lit, and Poetry «

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