In Celebration of My Uterus

By Anne Sexton 1928–1974 Anne Sexton
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   
yes.

Anne Sexton, “In Celebration of My Uterus” from The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981). Copyright © 1981 by Linda Gray Sexton and Loring Conant, Jr. Reprinted with the permission of Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

Source: The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1981)

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Poet Anne Sexton 1928–1974

SCHOOL / PERIOD Confessional

Subjects Birth & Birthdays, Health & Illness, Living

Occasions Gratitude & Apologies

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Ode, Confessional

 Anne  Sexton

Biography

Much of Anne Sexton's poetry is autobiographical and concentrates on her deeply personal feelings, especially anguish. In particular, many of her poems record her battles with mental illness. She spent many years in psychoanalysis, including several long stays in mental hospitals. As she told Beatrice Berg, her writing began, in fact, as therapy: "My analyst told me to write between our sessions about what I was feeling and . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Birth & Birthdays, Health & Illness, Living

SCHOOL / PERIOD Confessional

Poetic Terms Free Verse, Ode, Confessional

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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