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45 Mercy Street

Anne Sexton

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Added by: Sarah
i have just read this poem for the first time. i have read anne sexton before, though i must admit i thought it was very thin, cliché-filled, uninteresting writing. this poem, however, made me feel her. it was beautiful and intense, without being too obvious.
Mercy Street Video
Added by: Mike
I think Mercy Street by Peter Gabriel is very sad, and it reflects Ms. Sexton's hopelessness and need to battle her demons through suicide. If you want to, you check his video of "Mercy Street" via Comcast's "The Fan." It includes all of Mr. Gabriel's music videos, such as "Mercy Street," "Sledgehammer," "Biko," etc.

What a waste of talent.
Added by: Mohammed Hashim
The basic difference between prose and poetry is that prose is down to earth while poety can fly. Poetry can alleast try to indicate what prose cannot say. Moreover, prose is about the head and poetry is about the heart, and that is what makes Anne Sexton's poems worth reading.
Is Anne Religious?
Added by: Jana
Does anyone know if Anne was religious? A lot of her poems have refrences to God, but in condescending tones. Most of which describe the drowning relationship of her and her husband. I think the cause of her depression was not knowing God, and having the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen her.
Gabriel, Sexton, and Mercy Street
Added by: Glenn
I profess that I knew little of Anne Sexton until Peter Gabriel brought her to my attention with his 'Mercy Street' on his 'SO' album.

This is one of my favourte songs of all time. It is dark, mysterious, and actually has a happy-ending in a self-cathartic way. This may seem an absurd statement, but if you look at the symbolism of Gabriels last lyric from the song, you'll see where I am coming from:

"Anne, with her father, is out in the boat,
Riding the water,
Riding the waves of the sea"

For me, this conjures up the image of Anne - having committed suicide - being ferried across the river Styx, with her father playing the part of Charro (the ferryman). Although suicide is acknowledged as against the law of spirit, God, perhaps in all spiritual love, accepts and understands Anne's actions? By this, I do not want to suggest that catharsis can be found in suicide, but simply to acknowledge Gabriel's possible thinking towards Anne's situation.

Anne Sexton was a depressive and an alcholic, finding isolation and distance even in the very heart of her own family. Anne could not understand where her perception of something being wrong inside her came from, her writings only describe what she feels, not the causes of what she feels as an 'empty-ness'.

She could not fully reciprocate what she received, but she knew this, and must've have wondered how much pain she might have caused others.

Her poem - unfinished - describes a search. I do not take it to be a physical search, but one of the mind and imagination and memory. She's seeking a completion or a closure of understanding about herself.

Gabriel echoes this view in the opening lines of his song:

"Looking down on empty streets, all she can see,
Are the dreams all made solid,
Are the dreams all made real."

This begs the question, do we populate our own reality with our imaginations? If so, why can we not populate our dreams with peace and love and fulfillment? Why are our lives so fraught with unhappiness and misery and disatisfaction?

What, when missing from our makeup, denies us hope, contentment, acceptance? As individuals, man and woman, only to ourselves can we hope to perceive answer. Anne never did!

The best version of Mercy Street by Gabriel is a live version that extends the song with screams and cries of heartbreaking and haunting intensity.

In the end, we are all looking for...Mercy...if not for ourselves, then certainly for others. Some will find it, many will not.


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