When I was in my twenties I spent a good amount of time with my nose in a book, trying to figure out who I was and whom I might become. I would especially ferret out books about strong women--in search of meaning and purpose in their lives--in hopes of coming across instructions on how to live a more fully realized life. One woman's words made a great deal of difference to me during that process: Thank you, thank you Ms. Adrienne Rich.
I have (always) loved the titles of her volumes of poetry: from The Dream of a Common Language to A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far to An Atlas of a Difficult World. Can't you just imagine, from those, that she set about to help other women and men (!) circumnavigate the waters of the soul?
I remember when I first spied the poem Transcendental Etude--probably my favorite (from Dream ...)--I felt that I was in the exact same head space, and that made it possible for me to get more in touch with the huge forces at work in my life. "Perhaps there come times when we must take ourselves more seriously or die": those were my marching orders ... to continue to put one foot in front of the other ... daring myself to be authentically large.
The Book Store has several volumes of Ms. Rich's work available online to order. I think that I am going to take another look at her last and latest collection, Tonight No Poetry Will Serve, when it comes out in paper. And if you wish you can reserve your copy now. And this is a peek into the poem that bears the title:
"Saw you walking barefoot
taking a long look
at the new moon's eyelid
sleep-fallen, naked in your dark hair
asleep but not oblivious
of the unslept unsleeping
no poetry will serve ..."
Adrienne Rich also dealt with politics and poetry, not so much my strong suit, and yet I have admired her for that too. May you rest in peaceful slumber Ms. Rich.
the bad poet
aka book seller at UBS