'Hurry Up Please It's Time' by Anne Sexton
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What is death, I ask.What is life, you ask.I give them both my buttocks,my two wheels rolling off toward Nirvana.They are neat as a wallet,opening and closing on their coins,the quarters, the nickels,straight into the crapper.Why shouldn't I pull down my pantsand moon the executioneras well as paste raisins on my breasts?Why shouldn't I pull down my pantsand show my little cunny to Tomand Albert? They wee-wee funny.I wee-wee like a squaw.I have ink but no pen, stillI dream that I can piss in God's eye.I dream I'm a boy with a zipper.It's so practical, la de dah.The trouble with being a woman, Skeezix,is being a little girl in the first place.Not all the books of the world will change that.I have swallowed an orange, being woman.You have swallowed a ruler, being man.Yet waiting to die we are the same thing.Jehovah pleasures himself with his axebefore we are both overthrown.Skeezix, you are me. La de dah.You grow a beard but our drool is identical.Forgive us, Father, for we know not.Today is November 14th, 1972.I live in Weston, Mass., Middlesex County,U.S.A., and it rains steadilyin the pond like white puppy eyes.The pond is waiting for its skin.the pond is waiting for its leather.The pond is waiting for December and its Novocain.It begins:Interrogator:What can you say of your last seven days?Anne:They were tired.Interrogator:One day is enough to perfect a man.Anne:I watered and fed the plant.*My undertaker waits for me.he is probably twenty-three now,learning his trade.He'll stitch up the gren,he'll fasten the bones downlest they fly away.I am flying today.I am not tired today.I am a motor.I am cramming in the sugar.I am running up the hallways.I am squeezing out the milk.I am dissecting the dictionary.I am God, la de dah.Peanut butter is the American food.We all eat it, being patriotic.Ms. Dog is out fighting the dollars,rolling in a field of bucks.You've got it made if you take the wafer,take some wine,take some bucks,the green papery song of the office.What a jello she could make with it,the fives, the tens, the twenties,all in a goo to feed the baby.Andrew Jackson as an hors d'oeuvre,la de dah.I wish I were the U.S. Mint,turning it all out,turtle greenand monk black.Who's that at the podiumin black and white,blurting into the mike?Ms. Dog.Is she spilling her guts?You bet.Otherwise they cough...The day is slipping away, why am Iout here, what do they want?I am sorrowful in November...(no they don't want that,they want bee stings).Toot, toot, tootsy don't cry.Toot, toot, tootsy good-bye.If you don't get a letter thenyou'll know I'm in jail...Remember that, Skeezix,our first song?Who's thinking those things?Ms. Dog! She's out fighting the dollars.Milk is the American drink.Oh queens of sorrows,oh water lady,place me in your cupand pull over the cloudsso no one can see.She don't want no dollars.She done want a mama.The white of the white.Anne says:This is the rainy season.I am sorrowful in November.The kettle is whistling.I must butter the toast.And give it jam too.My kitchen is a heart.I must feed it oxygen once in a whileand mother the mother.*Say the woman is forty-four.Say she is five seven-and-a-half.Say her hair is stick color.Say her eyes are chameleon.Would you put her in a sack and bury her,suck her down into the dumb dirt?Some would.If not, time will.Ms. Dog, how much time you got left?Ms. Dog, when you gonna feel that cold nose?You better get straight with the Makercuz it's coming, it's a coming!The cup of coffee is growing and growingand they're gonna stick your little doll's headinto it and your lungs a gonna get paidand your clothes a gonna melt.Hear that, Ms. Dog!You of the songs,you of the classroom,you of the pocketa-pocketa,you hungry mother,you spleen baby!Them angels gonna be cut down like wheat.Them songs gonna be sliced with a razor.Them kitchens gonna get a boulder in the belly.Them phones gonna be torn out at the root.There's power in the Lord, baby,and he's gonna turn off the moon.He's gonna nail you up in a closetand there'll be no more Atlantic,no more dreams, no more seeds.One noon as you walk out to the mailboxHe'll snatch you up --a wopman beside the road like a red mitten.There's a sack over my head.I can't see. I'm blind.The sea collapses.The sun is a bone.Hi-ho the derry-o,we all fall down.If I were a fisherman I could comprehend.They fish right through the doorand pull eyes from the fire.They rock upon the daybreakand amputate the waters.They are beating the sea,they are hurting it,delving down into the inscrutable salt.*When mother left the roomand left me in the big blackand sent away my kittyto be fried in the campsand took away my blanketto wash the me out of itI lay in the soiled cold and prayed.It was a little jail in whichI was never slapped with kisses.I was the engine that couldn't.Cold wigs blew on the trees outsideand car lights flew like roosterson the ceiling.Cradle, you are a grave place.Interrogator:What color is the devil?Anne:Black and blue.Interrogator:What goes up the chimney?Anne:Fat Lazarus in his red suit.Forgive us, Father, for we know not.Ms. Dog prefers to sunbathe nude.Let the indifferent sky look on.So what!Let Mrs. Sewal pull the curtain back,from her second story.So what!Let United Parcel Service see my parcel.La de dah.Sun, you hammer of yellow,you hat on fire,you honeysuckle mama,pour your blonde on me!Let me laugh for an entire hourat your supreme being, your Cadillac stuff,because I've come a long wayfrom Brussels sprouts.I've come a long way to peel off my clothesand lay me down in the grass.Once only my palms showed.Once I hung around in my woolly tank suit,drying my hair in those little meatball curls.Now I am clothed in gold air withone dozen halos glistening on my skin.I am a fortunate lady.I've gotten out of my pouchand my teeth are gladand my heart, that witness,beats well at the thought.Oh body, be glad.You are good goods.*Middle-class lady,you make me smile.You dig a holeand come out with a sunburn.If someone hands you a glass of wateryou start constructing a sailboat.If someone hands you a candy wrapper,you take it to the book binder.Pocketa-pocketa.Once upon a time Ms. Dog was sixty-six.She had white hair and wrinkles deep as splinters.her portrait was nailed up like Christand she said of it:That's when I was forty-two,down in Rockport with a hat on for the sun,and Barbara drew a line drawing.We were, at that moment, drinking vodkaand ginger beer and there was a chill in the air,although it was July, and she gave me her sweaterto bundle up in. The next summer Skeezix tiedstrings in that hat when we were fishing in Maine.(It had gone into the lake twice.)Of such moments is happiness made.Forgive us, Father, for we know not.Once upon a time we were all born,popped out like jelly rollsforgetting our fishdom,the pleasuring seas,the country of comfort,spanked into the oxygens of death,Good morning life, we say when we wake,hail mary coffee toastand we Americans take juice,a liquid sun going down.Good morning life.To wake up is to be born.To brush your teeth is to be alive.To make a bowel movement is also desireable.La de dah,it's all routine.Often there are warsyet the shops keep openand sausages are still fried.People rub someone.People copulateentering each other's blood,tying each other's tendons in knots,transplanting their lives into the bed.It doesn't matter if there are wars,the business of life continuesunless you're the one that gets it.Mama, they say, as their intestinesleak out. Even without warslife is dangerous.Boats spring leaks.Cigarettes explode.The snow could be radioactive.Cancer could ooze out of the radio.Who knows?Ms. Dog stands on the shoreand the sea keeps rocking inand she wants to talk to God.Interrogator:Why talk to God?Anne:It's better than playing bridge.*Learning to talk is a complex business.My daughter's first word was
Editor 1 Interpretation
Hurry Up Please It's Time by Anne Sexton
Are you ready to dive deep into the world of Anne Sexton's poetry? Well, hurry up then, because it's time to explore one of her most iconic poems, "Hurry Up Please It's Time." This poem is a part of Sexton's collection, "Live or Die," which was published in 1966. Sexton's poetry is known for its confessional style, and "Hurry Up Please It's Time" is no exception. In this 4000-word literary criticism and interpretation, we will explore the various themes, literary devices, and the overall meaning of the poem. So, buckle up and get ready for a wild ride.
First, let's take a look at the poem itself.
What is death, I ask.
What is life, you answer.
If I tell you the truth
about life, will you leave me
for a better one?
The poem starts off with a sense of urgency, as the speaker urges someone to hurry up. The title itself is a command, emphasizing the sense of urgency. The repetition of "hurry up" creates a sense of impatience, as if the speaker is tired of waiting. The first line, "What is death, I ask," sets the tone for the rest of the poem. The speaker is questioning the meaning of life and death, which is a common theme in Sexton's poetry.
The second line, "What is life, you answer," introduces another character to the poem. We do not know who this person is, but they seem to have a different perspective on life and death than the speaker. The use of "you" creates a sense of dialogue, as if the speaker is in conversation with someone. The third line, "If I tell you the truth," suggests that the speaker is about to reveal something important.
it has too many words
and tomorrow's day
However, the speaker changes their mind in the next line, "I think I will not tell you." This creates a sense of mystery and makes the reader wonder what the truth might be. The reason for not revealing the truth is "it has too many words." This implies that the speaker is struggling to articulate their thoughts and feelings about life and death, which is a common theme in Sexton's poetry. The final line, "and tomorrow's day," suggests that there is not enough time to explain everything.
and I think I have made
mistakes. It is pleasant
to watch the snow. We are
all going to die.```
The next stanza begins with the speaker revealing their age, "I am a woman in thirty." This creates a sense of vulnerability, as the speaker is admitting their age and the mistakes they have made. The line, "It is pleasant to watch the snow," creates a contrast between the beauty of nature and the bleakness of life and death. The final line, "We are all going to die," is a stark reminder of our mortality.
The next stanza is only one line, "You too." This suggests that the person the speaker is in conversation with also shares the same fate. It also creates a sense of camaraderie, as if the two characters are in this together.
The next stanza shifts the focus to time. The line, "Meanwhile Monday comes in Tuesday's shirt," creates a sense of confusion and disorientation. It suggests that time is moving too quickly and that the days are blending together.
Queen's Hotel, holding on
to the iron,
I will die soon
The final stanza creates a sense of finality. The speaker is walking by the railing of the Queen's Hotel, holding onto the iron. This creates a visual image of someone holding onto life, trying not to let go. The final line, "I will die soon," is a reminder that death is inevitable.
Now that we have analyzed the poem line by line, let's explore the various themes.
The most obvious theme in "Hurry Up Please It's Time" is mortality. The poem is a reminder that we are all going to die, and that time is running out. The repetition of "hurry up" and the constant sense of urgency creates a feeling of restlessness and anxiety. The final line, "I will die soon," is a stark reminder of our mortality and the inevitability of death.
Confession is another common theme in Sexton's poetry. The speaker in "Hurry Up Please It's Time" admits their age and the mistakes they have made. This creates a sense of vulnerability and honesty. The line, "If I tell you the truth about life, will you leave me for a better one?" suggests that the speaker is afraid of being judged for their honesty.
Time is a recurring theme in Sexton's poetry, and "Hurry Up Please It's Time" is no exception. The poem creates a sense of disorientation and confusion, as if time is moving too quickly. The line, "Meanwhile Monday comes in Tuesday's shirt," suggests that time is running out and that there is not enough time to do everything we want to do.
Isolation is a common theme in Sexton's poetry. The speaker in "Hurry Up Please It's Time" seems to be in conversation with someone, but we do not know who that person is. This creates a sense of loneliness and isolation.
Now that we have explored the various themes in "Hurry Up Please It's Time," let's take a closer look at the literary devices Sexton uses to convey these themes.
The repetition of "hurry up" creates a sense of urgency and impatience. It also emphasizes the theme of time running out.
The use of "you" creates a sense of dialogue, as if the speaker is in conversation with someone. This creates a sense of intimacy and vulnerability.
Sexton uses imagery to create a visual image of the speaker holding onto life. The line, "I walk by the railing of the Queen's Hotel, holding on to the iron," creates a powerful image of someone holding onto life.
The line, "Meanwhile Monday comes in Tuesday's shirt," is a metaphor for the confusion and disorientation that comes with time running out.
Now that we have explored the various literary devices used in "Hurry Up Please It's Time," let's take a closer look at the overall meaning of the poem.
"Hurry Up Please It's Time" is a powerful reminder of our mortality and the inevitability of death. The poem creates a sense of urgency and impatience, as if time is running out. The use of dialogue creates a sense of intimacy and vulnerability, as the speaker admits their age and the mistakes they have made. The final line, "I will die soon," is a stark reminder that death is inevitable.
The poem also explores the theme of isolation, as the speaker seems to be in conversation with someone, but we do not know who that person is. This creates a sense of loneliness and disconnection.
Overall, "Hurry Up Please It's Time" is a powerful and thought-provoking poem that explores some of the most profound questions about life and death. Sexton's use of imagery and metaphor creates a powerful visual image of someone holding onto life, trying not to let go. The poem is a reminder to live life to the fullest, because time is running out.
In conclusion, "Hurry Up Please It's Time" is a masterpiece of confessional poetry that explores some of the most profound questions about life and death. Sexton's use of literary devices creates a powerful and thought-provoking poem that will stay with the reader long after they have finished reading it. So, hurry up please and read this poem, because it's time.
Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation
Hurry Up Please It's Time: A Masterpiece of Anne Sexton
Anne Sexton is one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century. Her works are known for their rawness, honesty, and unapologetic approach to taboo subjects. One of her most famous poems, "Hurry Up Please It's Time," is a perfect example of her unique style and voice.
The poem is a conversation between two women, one of whom is a bartender and the other a customer. The bartender is trying to close the bar, but the customer is reluctant to leave. The conversation is filled with sexual innuendos, references to popular culture, and a sense of urgency.
The title of the poem, "Hurry Up Please It's Time," is a phrase that the bartender uses repeatedly throughout the conversation. It is a plea for the customer to leave so that the bartender can close the bar. However, the phrase can also be interpreted as a metaphor for the passage of time and the inevitability of death.
The poem deals with several themes, including sexuality, mortality, and the passage of time. The sexual innuendos in the conversation between the bartender and the customer suggest a sense of urgency and a desire to live life to the fullest. The references to popular culture, such as the mention of Elvis Presley, also suggest a desire to embrace the present moment and enjoy life while it lasts.
At the same time, the poem also acknowledges the inevitability of death and the passage of time. The repeated use of the phrase "Hurry Up Please It's Time" suggests that time is running out and that we must make the most of the time we have. The poem also suggests that death is a natural part of life and that we should not fear it but embrace it as a part of the cycle of life.
The poem is written in free verse, which allows Sexton to experiment with form and structure. The conversation between the bartender and the customer is presented in a fragmented and disjointed manner, which reflects the chaotic and urgent nature of the conversation. The use of sexual innuendos and references to popular culture also adds to the sense of urgency and immediacy.
Sexton's use of language is also noteworthy. The poem is filled with vivid and evocative imagery, such as the description of the "blue Italian light" and the "smell of liquor." The use of colloquial language and slang also adds to the realism and authenticity of the conversation.
At its core, "Hurry Up Please It's Time" is a poem about the human condition. It acknowledges our mortality and the passage of time but also celebrates the joys of life and the importance of living in the present moment. The conversation between the bartender and the customer is a reminder that life is short and that we should make the most of the time we have.
"Hurry Up Please It's Time" is a masterpiece of Anne Sexton's unique style and voice. The poem is a powerful reminder of the importance of living in the present moment and making the most of the time we have. Its themes of sexuality, mortality, and the passage of time are universal and timeless, making it a poem that will continue to resonate with readers for generations to come.
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