A Story For Rose On The Midnight Flight To Boston-Friday Night Poetry Corner #167

Good day everyone and welcome to another Friday Night Poetry Corner! Continuing with the theme of Women History Month, here is a famous poet who brief introduction is this:

Anne Sexton (November 9, 1928 – October 4, 1974) was an American poet, known for her highly personal, confessional verse. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967 for her book Live or Die. Her poetry details her long battle with depression, suicidal tendencies, and various intimate details from her private life, including her relationships with her husband and children.


I was first introduced to Anne Sexton in college and I enjoyed her poetry immensely. Here is a personal favorite of mines and I hope you guys will enjoy…

A Story For Rose On The Midnight Flight To Boston

Until tonight they were separate specialties,

different stories, the best of their own worst.

Riding my warm cabin home, I remember Betsy’s

laughter; she laughed as you did, Rose, at the first

story. Someday, I promised her, I’ll be someone

going somewhere and we plotted it in the humdrum

school for proper girls. The next April the plane

bucked me like a horse, my elevators turned

and fear blew down my throat, that last profane

gauge of a stomach coming up. And then returned

to land, as unlovely as any seasick sailor,

sincerely eighteen; my first story, my funny failure.

Maybe Rose, there is always another story,

better unsaid, grim or flat or predatory.

Half a mile down the lights of the in-between cities

turn up their eyes at me. And I remember Betsy’s

story, the April night of the civilian air crash

and her sudden name misspelled in the evening paper,

the interior of shock and the paper gone in the trash

ten years now. She used the return ticket I gave her.

This was the rude kill of her; two planes cracking

in mid-air over Washington, like blind birds.

And the picking up afterwards, the morticians tracking

bodies in the Potomac and piecing them like boards

to make a leg or a face. There is only her miniature

photograph left, too long now for fear to remember.

Special tonight because I made her into a story

that I grew to know and savor.

A reason to worry,

Rose, when you fix an old death like that,

and outliving the impact, to find you’ve pretended.

We bank over Boston. I am safe. I put on my hat.

I am almost someone going home. The story has ended.



by Anne Sexton

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