30 March 2012

Adrienne Rich :: 1929 - 2012

I loved her.
The Fact of a Doorframe sits on my bookshelf.
It travelled across the ocean with me.
Perhaps, so that when I heard that she had died,
I could bury myself in it and re-read all my favorites.

She captures the essence of a women
when there is no choice in who you can become.
Your path is already laid out, decided.
No deviations allowed.

Life has changed since she was first published in 1951.
But I wouldn't mind if it changed a little bit more.
A fitting tribute to her memory.

The Fact of a Doorframe
means there is something to hold
onto with both hands
while slowly thrusting my forehead against the wood
and taking it away
one of the oldest motions of suffering
as Makeba sings
a courage-song for warriors
music is suffering made powerful

I think of the story
of the goose-girl who passed through the high gate
where the head of her favorite mare
was nailed to the arch
and in a human voice
If she could see thee now, thy mother's heart would break
said the head
of Falada

Now, again, poetry,
violent, arcane, common,
hewn of the commonest living substance
into archway, portal, frame
I grasp for you, your bloodstained splinters, your
ancient and stubborn poise
-- as the earth trembles --
burning out from the grain

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