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Also a poem by Anne Sexton, first published in the Antioch Review (1959).

My Friend, My Friend is thought have been an inspiration for Sylvia Plath's poem Daddy. The two poems share similarities in imagery, structure and theme, most notably in their charting of the emotional/psychological aftermath of parental death, and in their shared references to Judaism (Plath created something of a controversy with Daddy and Lady Lazarus by invoking the specter of the Holocaust as a metaphor for her suffering). The poems differ in tone, however: where Daddy has the vivid, melodramatic intensity characteristic of Plath's mature work, Sexton's poem has a more restrained, contemplative voice.

(As a sidenote, Plath and Sexton struck up a friendship while attending poetry workshops taught by pioneer confessional poet Robert Lowell. The two were drawn together by a mutual obsession with death and suicide; each admired and was influenced by the other's work.)


Who will forgive me for the things I do?
With no special legend of God to refer to,
With my calm white pedigree, my yankee kin,
I think it would be better to be a Jew.

I forgive you for what you did not do.
I am impossibly guilty. Unlike you,
My Friend, I can not blame my origin
With no special legend or God to refer to.

They wear The Crucifix as they are meant to do.
Why do their little crosses trouble you?
The effigies that I have made are genuine,
(I think it would be better to be a Jew).

Watching my mother slowly die I knew
My first release. I wish some ancient bugaboo
Followed me. But my sin is always my sin.
With no special legend or God to refer to.

Who will forgive me for the things I do?
To have your reasonable hurt to belong to
Might ease my trouble like liquor or aspirin.
I think it would be better to be a Jew.

And if I lie, I lie because I love you,
Because I am bothered by the things I do,
Because your hurt invades my calm white skin:
With no special legend or God to refer to,
I think it would be better to be a Jew.

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