Twenty-One Love Poems VII

By Adrienne Rich

Twenty-One Love Poems VIIVII
What kind of beast would turn its life into words?
What atonement is this all about?
–and yet, writing words like these, I’m also living.
Is all this close to the wolverines’ howled signals,
that modulated cantata of the wild?
or, when away from you I try to create you in words,
am I simply using you, like a river or a war?
And how have I used rivers, how have I used wars
to escape writing of the worst thing of all—
not the crimes of others, not even our own death,
but the failure to want our freedom passionately enough
so that blighted elms, sick rivers, massacres would seem
mere emblems of that desecration of ourselves?

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1 Comment

Filed under Poem

One response to “Twenty-One Love Poems VII

  1. bill stuart

    By Joves I have now read the brief biography of this remarkable woman.
    Sadly none of her work is in store at Chapters. A fate shared by W H Auden.

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