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A recent perusal of Pulitzer-Prize winning American poet Anne Sexton‘s work reveals an interesting obsession with failure, God and redemption strangely reminiscent of America’s current struggles. Given the religious nature of the season it seems timely to reflect on the past year and our times. The title of this article is gleaned from Sexton’s last work before she committed suicide—while ironically grappling with the idea of a higher power. Who can argue that America seems caught in malaise of intellectual and spiritual derivation? We’ve almost forgotten our glorious past with its divine sanction. We now stagger from failure to failure in a fog, stumbling over secular fables, whilst hand wringing and moaning, full of self-pity
Anne Sexton appeared to grasp the outline of a divine presence even as her life came apart, literally at the seams. Did she feel God was reeling her towards Him through all her disastrous and self-destructive acts? Likewise, has the USA also been allowed to fall away and then suffer judgments—for our lusts of the flesh, technological idols and worship of golden calves? Are we at endgame? Will the just be spared before annihilation? Or will the sweet land of liberty be saved in the nick of time when we experience revival and repentance? This question is the topic of this essay within the context of Anne Sexton’s poetry and other prophetic voices.
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