Sexton, Anne

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
  • Date of entry: Aug-16-1995
  • Last revised: Aug-17-2006


An even-handed consideration of the essence of doctoring, this poem packs into a few short lines the paradoxes, frustrations, rewards, and dangers inherent in the profession. It depicts the doctor’s power, skill, humanity, dedication, and sometime arrogance, and the arena in which the work is done--"they are only a human / trying to fix up a human." Sexton warns that arrogance has profound consequences: "If they [doctors] are too proud, . . . then they leave home on horseback / but God returns them on foot."


This was a late poem of Sexton’s, appearing in the collection, The Awful Rowing toward God, published in 1975.

Primary Source

The Complete Poems


Houghton Mifflin

Place Published



1982 (paperback)