Wednesday, September 2, 2009

When on that transatlantic call into the unseen
ear of a hack through whiskey film you blabbed
your misanthrope’s
misremembered remnant of a story
given years back in trust

a rearview mirror
cracked /
shock of an ice-cube biting liquid

Heard the sound / didn’t know yet
where it was coming from

That mirror / gave up our ghosts

This fine clear summer morning / a line from Chekhov:
it would be strange not to forgive

(I in my body now alive)

All are human / give / forgive
drop the charges / let go / put away

Rage for the trusting
it would be strange not to say

Love? yes
in this lifted hand / behind
these eyes
upon you / now

©Adrienne Rich 2007

…it would be strange not to forgive: “Essentially all this is crude and meaningless…as an avalanche which involuntarily rolls down a mountain and overwhelms people. But when one listens to music, all this is: that some people lie in their graves and sleep, and that one woman is alive…and the avalanche seems no longer meaningless, since in nature everything has a meaning. And everything is forgiven, and it would be strange not to forgive.” (Anton Chekhov, Themes, Thoughts, Notes and Fragments. Tr. L.S.Koteliansky and Leonard Woolf.)


Photo: Lilian Kemp

Photo: Lilian Kemp

Adrienne Rich’s most recent books of poetry are Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth:Poems 2004-2006 and The School Among the Ruins: 2000-2004. She edited Muriel Rukeyser’s Selected Poemsfor the Library of America. A Human Eye: Essays on Art in Society, appeared in April 2009. She is a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 2006 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters among other honors. She lives in California.

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