Monday, July 09, 2012

Dear Music, thanks for being there when no one else was

"Music Swims Back to Me"
By Anne Sexton 1928–1974

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.


Anne Sexton, “Music Swims Back to Me” from The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1981). Copyright © 1981 by Linda Gray Sexton and Loring Conant, Jr. Reprinted with the permission of Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.

I have always found solace in music. It helps me sleep, when I can sleep. It calms me. It drowns out voices when I'm psychotic. It motivates me when I'm depressed. Music is a big part of my life, and I'm not even a musician. I suspect music is meaningful to many of us with serious mental illnesses, especially those of us who experience auditory hallucinations. My Mp3 player is my lifesaver in such times, and I wouldn't know what to do without it.

I've been away from the blog lately, because I went to Maryland for a week and only had sporadic internet access. I stayed for four days with my grandmother who is still alive (my mother's mom), and visited aunts and uncles and cousins (just a few), and my grandfather who is still alive (my dad's father who lost his wife last month). Then I went to a hotel for the national National Organization for Women conference which I go to every year because I'm involved with that feminist organization. It was great fun, and educational too. I got to see my friends from NOW who I don't see very often because they don't live near me.

Since I came home, I've been really worn out and tired. I'm going to physical therapy twice a week now, for my Fibromyalgia and arthritis pain. I go to see my mental health therapist for the first time in like two months tomorrow. The problems with Social Security are still going on. Today I was so exhausted I did practically nothing at all. Now I can't sleep, of course. But I will listen to music and try to fall asleep. Music swims back to me.

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