Breaking down Poetry- The Starry Night

Breaking down Poetry- The Starry Night

Poem- The Starry Night

Poet- Anne Sexton

First, who is Anne Sexton?

Anne is an American poet from Massachusetts. She works as a fashion model and was married at 20, giving birth to two children. She began writing poetry at the age of twenty-eight. She won the Pulitzer Prize for her poetry in 1967. She was also well known for her Confessional and personal aimed poetry. She was similar to Van Gough in the sense that she spent much time in multiple mental hospitals, where she got the most inspiration for her poems. Sexton often said, “Poetry should almost hurt.” 

Poem:

The town does not exist

except where one black-haired tree slips

up like a drowned woman into the hot sky.

The town is silent. The night boils with eleven stars.   

Oh starry starry night! This is how

I want to die.

It moves. They are all alive.

Even the moon bulges in its orange irons   

to push children, like a god, from its eye.

The old unseen serpent swallows up the stars.   

Oh starry starry night! This is how   

I want to die:

into that rushing beast of the night,   

sucked up by that great dragon, to split   

from my life with no flag,

no belly,

no cry.

Sexton often contrasts the sky and the town, giving the town a less important role in the poem. She describes it as Silent and non-existent, where the sky is warm and The stars move as if they were alive. “The moon Bulges in its orange irons.”(11) contrasts with “The Town does not exist- except where one black-haired tree slips- up like a drowned woman”(1-3) The town sounds sad and dark like it lacks feeling and metal worth for Sexton. The sky is described as if it brings comfort to Sexton. 

The sky is how Sexton wants to die. “I want to die:- into that rushing beast of the night.- sucked up by that great dragon, to split- from my life with no flag- no belly- no flag-”

Sexton does not want to feel that feeling of surrendering her life. She does not want to cry as she leaves the world. She wants to be swallowed up by the “great dragon” and torn from life with no pain and sorrow in view. To let go of her meaningless existence with no effort. 

This poem makes me feel a type of peaceful sadness, but it is not easy to relate to in my opinion. I can not begin to understand the true feeling of this poem because i have never experienced what the poem went through, which makes me lack a huge amount of understanding.