Friday, March 30, 2012

"otro dia, otro dolor"

Adrienne Rich- World Treasure- Rest In Peace

At Willard Brook
November 18, 1961
Spirit like water
moulded by unseen stone
and sandbar, pleats and funnels
according to its own
submerged necessity —
to the indolent eye
pure wilfulness, to the stray
pine-needle boiling
in that cascade-bent pool
a random fury: Law,
if that's what's wanted, lies
asking to be read
in the dried brook-bed.

For Example
November 23, 1963
Sometimes you meet an old man
whose fist isn't clenched blue-white.
Someone like that old poet
whose grained palm once travelled
the bodies of sick children.
Back in the typed line
was room for everything: the blue
grape hyacinth patch,
the voluntary touch
of cheek on breast, the ear
alert for a changed heartbeat
and for other sounds too
that live in a typed line:
the breath of animals, stopping
and starting up of busses,
trashfires in empty lots.
Attention once given
returned again as power.
An old man's last few evenings
might be inhabited
not by a public—
fountains of applause off
auditorium benches,
tributes read at hotel banquets—
but by reverberations
the ear had long desired,
accepted and absorbed.
The late poem might be written
in a night suddenly awake
with quiet new sounds
as when a searchlight plays
against the dark bush-tangle
and birds speak in reply.

December 25, 1972
You show me the poems of some woman
my age, or younger
translated from your language
Certain words occur: enemy, oven, sorrow
enough to let me know
she's a woman of my time
with Love, our subject:
we've trained it like ivy to our walls
baked it like bread in our ovens
worn it like lead on our ankles
watched it through binoculars as if
it were a helicopter
bringing food to our famine
or the satellite
of a hostile power
I begin to see that woman
doing things: stirring rice
ironing a skirt
typing a manuscript till dawn
trying to make a call
from a phonebooth
The phone rings endlessly
in a man's bedroom
she hears him telling someone else
Never mind. She'll get tired.
hears him telling her story to her sister
who becomes her enemy
and will in her own way
light her own way to sorrow
ignorant of the fact this way of grief
is shared, unnecessary
and political

Tonight No Poetry Will Serve
May 26, 2008 
Saw you walking barefoot
taking a long look
at the new moon's eyelid
later spread
sleep-fallen, naked in your dark hair
asleep but not oblivious
of the unslept unsleeping
Tonight I think
no poetry
will serve
Syntax of rendition:
verb pilots the plane
adverb modifies action
verb force-feeds noun
submerges the subject
noun is choking
verb disgraced goes on doing
there are adjectives up for sale
now diagram the sentence

June 8, 2009
Call me Sebastian, arrows sticking all over
The map of my battlefields. Marathon.
Wounded Knee. Vicksburg. Jericho.
Battle of the Overpass.
Victories turned inside out
But no surrender
Cemeteries of remorse
The beaten champion sobbing
Ghosts move in to shield his tears
No one writes lyric on a battlefield
On a map stuck with arrows
But I think I can do it if I just lurk
In my tent pretending to
Refeather my arrows
I'll be right there! I yell
When they come with their crossbows and white phosphorus
To recruit me
Crouching over my drafts
lest they find me out
and shoot me
Press your cheek against my medals, listen through them to my heart
Doctor, can you see me if I'm naked?
Spent longer in this place than in the war
No one comes but rarely and I don't know what for
Went to that desert as many did before
Farewell and believing and hope not to die
Hope not to die and what was the life
Did we think was awaiting after
Lay down your stethoscope back off on your skills
Doctor can you see me when I'm naked?
I'll tell you about the mermaid
Sheds swimmable tail Gets legs for dancing
Sings like the sea with a choked throat
Knives straight up her spine
Lancing every step
There is a price
There is a price
For every gift
And all advice