the dream of a common language

Earlier this evening while on my dinner break, I was on Facebook and noticed several references and quotes to poet Adrienne Rich. These mentions told me two things: My friends have (unsurprisingly) excellent taste in writers and that Ms. Rich had died.


She is one of a handful of poets, along with the likes of T.S. Eliot and Ted Hughes, who have inspired my own writing. I wrote academic papers on her and titled my BFA thesis "Whatever Happens, This Is," taken from her [floating poem]. Frequently her graceful words were used as epigraphs to my own.

She was an amazing woman and writer, fierce and fabulous. She will be missed.

So, I share with you now not only my absolute favorite Rich poem but quite possibly my favorite poem ever. This is selection II from her Twenty-One Love Poems:

I wake up in your bed. I know I have been dreaming.
Much earlier, the alarm broke us from each other,
you’ve been at your desk for hours. I know what I dreamed:
our friend the poet comes into my room
where I’ve been writing for days,
drafts, carbons, poems are scattered everywhere,
and I want to show her one poem
which is the poem of my life. But I hesitate,
and wake. You’ve kissed my hair
to wake me. I dreamed you were a poem,
I say, a poem I wanted to show someone…
and I laugh and fall dreaming again
of the desire to show you to everyone I love,
to move openly together
in the pull of gravity, which is not simple,
which carries the feathered grass a long way down the upbreathing air.

Adrienne Rich
May 16, 1929 - March 27, 2012


Lady Lazarus
the year of the phoenix


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