For those unfamiliar with Anne Sexton, whose Selected Poems is on the "Near Perfect" list, there is this, from this morning's Writer's Almanac:
Locked DoorsThis encapsulates so much of her profound work, vacillating between child-like fable and hellish nightmare, all in modern vernacular, this time with a somewhat uncharacteristic wish for redemption.
For the angels who inhabit this town,
although their shape constantly changes,
each night we leave some cold potatoes
and a bowl of milk on the windowsill.
Usually they inhabit heaven where,
by the way, no tears are allowed.
They push the moon around like
a boiled yam.
The Milky Way is their hen
with her many children.
When it is night the cows lie down
but the moon, that big bull,
However, there is a locked room up there
with an iron door that can't be opened.
It has all your bad dreams in it
It is hell.
Some say the devil locks the door
from the inside.
Some say the angels lock it from
The people inside have no water
and are never allowed to touch.
They crack like macadam.
They are mute
They do not cry help
where their hearts are covered with grubs.
I would like to unlock that door,
turn the rusty key
and hold each fallen one in my arms
but I cannot, I cannot.
I can only sit here on earth
at my place at the table.Anne Sexton
As powerful as it gets ...