National Poetry Month (2) – Music Swims Back to Me A.S.

While prepping for working with my students during National Poetry Month, I remembered I had purchased a copy of the book/CD set The Spoken Word Revolution. I pulled it off my shelf and gave it a listen. And I can’t help but wonder why I hadn’t listened to it before!

I enjoy live performances of poetry and have followed the Poetry Speaks website for years. I am excited about sharing poetry with my students this year and we are working hard on reading, listening, writing, and reflecting on the world of poetry. One of the first pieces I shared with them this year is Anne Sexton‘s poem Music Swims Back to Me, as performed by Cin Salach. I love the musical rhythm Cin added to make the rhythm of the poem flow.

Music Swims Back to Me

Wait Mister. Which way is home?
They turned the light out
and the dark is moving in the corner.
There are no sign posts in this room,
four ladies, over eighty,
in diapers every one of them.
La la la, Oh music swims back to me
and I can feel the tune they played
the night they left me
in this private institution on a hill.
Imagine it. A radio playing
and everyone here was crazy.
I liked it and danced in a circle.
Music pours over the sense
and in a funny way
music sees more than I.
I mean it remembers better;
remembers the first night here.
It was the strangled cold of November;
even the stars were strapped in the sky
and that moon too bright
forking through the bars to stick me
with a singing in the head.
I have forgotten all the rest.
They lock me in this chair at eight a.m.
and there are no signs to tell the way,
just the radio beating to itself
and the song that remembers
more than I. Oh, la la la,
this music swims back to me.
The night I came I danced a circle
and was not afraid.
Mister?
-Anne Sexton

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