The Kiss written by Anne Sexton is a beautiful love poem. A Love PoemAnne Sexton, in this piece of verse, expresses her experience and feeling of a kiss and lovemaking when she was in love with her lover.
She says that her life has become useful and worth living. She places herself in Mary’s position and gets her garments off which probably means that she is having a physical pleasure with her man. Her unveiled body generates a pleasurable shock-like an electric blots. And she resurrects a new life maybe she is conceived.
Before today my body was useless.
Now it’s tearing at its square corners.
It’s tearing old Mary’s garments off, knot by knot
And see – Now it’s shot full of these electric bolts.
Zing! A Resurrection!
This extract is taken from “The Kiss” written by Anne Sexton, an American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1967. The speaker of this stanza is a woman. She talks about her first experience of a kiss with her lover. She finds kissing more lively and enjoyable which gives her life back. Kissing happens in love, not in hate and anger. In this case, she talks about her first kissing experience as ambrosia which gives her body back in a proper track.
In the first line of the stanza, Anne Sexton talks about her past life which ‘was useless’ and dull. It tells us about her dissatisfaction in her life, body before she gets the kiss. Here ‘body’ may mean her physical body, and it also may mean her sense of womanhood. And in the second line, she talks about changes that are taking place in her body because of the kiss with her lover. Now, her body is ‘tearing at its square corners’ may mean it is getting what it wants and similarly, the feeling achieved from the kiss is reaching at every part of the body; it may also mean it is getting its proper order and shape by accepting for what it is made. The term, ‘tearing’ may also indicate to the pain by doing for the first time which was not done before but I do not think that kissing is painful. She takes her body as a matter of mathematics: the square corners and I do not know whether we have square corners in our body or not. She further says that her body is breaking all the garments of ‘old Mary’ ‘knot by knot.’ Here, Sexton has given us the Biblical reference; old Mary is the reference to the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. Mary is considered to be a virgin and pious. On this basis, the speaker says that she is leaving old Mary’s virtues one by one- ‘knot by knot.’ The term, ‘knot by knot’ makes me think more because she says that her body is not following the body of Mary which also gives us the signal that she is not only kissing but also having sex with her lover. I claim it because the literal meaning of tearing old Mary’s garments off may mean the real clothes worn to hide the body which she is taking off. Am I being vulgar? Sorry, it is just an interpretation of the stanza as I see it. In the next line, she talks about the power of ‘romance’; she uses the metaphor of ‘electric bolts’ for the kisses she gets from her lover. She gets her body and purpose of living back and realizes the power of love by kissing her lover. Her body is full of kisses and it gets resurrected: ‘A resurrection!’ The kiss of her lover renewed her body and herself from useless to useful. It is five lines free verse stanza with a short line at last.
To sum up, Anne Sexton compares her life before love and after love. She also talks about the power of love, a kiss which gives her life, body back. It also teaches us to live our lives in love, not in hate and isolation. So, I also believe that it is better to be in love than keeping ourselves in an isolation. Eventually, the verse means to have a love and take it very seriously as an essential part of our lives. The kiss rejuvenates the life and body of the speaker. The verse encourages its readers to make love so that you could feel rejuvenated in every single time. Only Love can make our life so meaningful and worth living. So fall in love.