After Auschwitz

as black as a hook,
overtakes me.
Each day,

by Anne Sexton Click to read full poem

Comments (18)

Honest, powerful and worthwhile words. Outstanding poetry.
'I beg the Lord not to hear. ' - so much in that one line. I always loved this. Xx NDS
Death scratching its, LOL.
This one hits hard for me as it causes us to reflect on the state of man and whether or not his impact is good, if there is an impact to even make in the first place.
death's not as bad as Nazis, so put 'death' where 'Nazis' is and vice versa
This is just another reason Anne is on the top 5 of my favorite poets list.... What an incredible mind... So many great comments below. But Stephen Anne was manic-depressive all of her life, which really doesn't make her crazy, She spent her formidable years living through WWII and finding out with everyone else the atrocities taking place in Europe. Mania-depression can alter the person's perception. What I find so beautiful is my own interpretation of the way she relays her perceptions. Again, what an incredible mind. I must agree with Mc Donald, great damn piece!
Great damn piece
A thought provoking poem. I think this whole sordid episode in history was ugly and this poem conveys this. How could people do this to others?
In the aftermath of Auschwitz execution of Jews, it might be the out pouring of one's feeling full of emotion none can hide as said in this poem indeed!
A horrible poem, obviously the work of mental illness.
just to point out: 1. After Auschwitz is a poem that was written by Anne Sexton on January 1973. This poem was then included in a volume entitled The Awful Rowing Towards God. It was publish in 1975, a year after her death. 2. I've searched for an Analysis of After Auschwitz, and I've found this one by Caroline Coan and Bryan Voit. It is an interesting point of view: ========== When I first read the poem After Auschwitz, by Anne Sexton, I thought it was a poem that reflects the horrors of the Nazi regime in Germany. But, after I read it few more times, I began to look at some of the images that she was conveying. The lines “a baby sautéed for breakfast” and “picks at dirt under his fingernail” or “scratches his anus.” These are not pleasant sites to visualize in one’s mind. Sexton could be saying in the line “death looks on with a casual eye, ” she is telling us that with death all round us, we do not even bat an eye over the deaths that are happening at time she wrote this poem, which the Vietnam War was raging, and I think this war influenced her. [..] Anne Sexton uses the references to the Nazi regime in other poems. And according to David Trinidad, he states in his article, “Two Sweet Ladies”: Sexton and Plath’s Friendship and Mutual Influence, he suggests, “Sexton, separated from her husband…divorce poems is littered with dreadful Nazi-isms.” I think that Trinidad is right in his assessments that she was angry with her marriage ending and express those feelings in her poems. In the poem, I think she was not literally talking about her husband, but in a more general way of all of mankind. She does not make the reference to men but uses the word “man.” Sexton also thinks that man is a beautiful creature that can have a very dark and evil side to them. I am referring to the lines “Man is a flower” and “Man is a bird” or “miraculous fingers.” But then Sexton shows the evil side with, “should be burnt” and “full of mud” or “but an outhouse” when referring to man. The last soliloquy, Sexton, is wishing for the destruction of all man, but at the end the most powerful line is “I beg the lord not to hear.” Even though she prays that man should be destroyed, she still thinks man is a wonderful creature and should continue to live. ==========
Sexton steps out of her cathartic verse fuelled by depression and gives us yet another reason as to why humankind, especially barbarians like the Nazis, cannot be ever trusted. The baby being sauteed is a mortifying image that sticks like hell, and Sexton's despair is made quite apparent in the last line, when the poet of Small Wire discards all hope of divine intervention.
Yes it eats everything, especially babies!
The poem eats your inners eats your emotion and I agree with everything you say, your poem is a fist of truth as nazism melts into hell...deep great work regards to you in heaven
this poem is amazing, i feel the intense anger. thanks, jane s
Oh my god! Right on target.... a sad truth... we are not such a noble breed after all.
very much like your sister sylvia.