13 April 2012

Poem: Camille Dungy for Adrienne Rich

Camille, on the Red Carpet at the NAACP Image Awards - You !GO! Girl
Continuing the libations for the late Adrienne Rich, here is poet Camille Dungy's bouquet to the great poet and essayist. Also check out VIDA: Women in the Literary Arts for their short essay series, "21 Love Poems to Adrienne Rich"

Arthritis is one thing, the hurting another

.............................for Adrienne Rich in 2006 

The poet's hands degenerate until her cup is too heavy.

You are not required to understand.
This is not the year for understanding.

This is the year of burning women in schoolyards
and raided homes, of tarped bodies on runways and in ......restaurants.

The architecture of the poet's hands has turned upon itself.

This is not the year for palliatives. It is not the year for ......knowing what to do.

This is the year the planet grew smaller
and no country would consent to its defeat.

The poet's cup is filled too full, a weight she cannot carry
from the table to her mouth, her lips, her tongue.
The poet's hands are congenitally spoiled.

This is not one thing standing for another.

Listen, this year three ancient cities met their ruin, maybe ......more,
and many profited, but this is not news for the readers here.

Should I speak indirectly?
I am not the poet. Those are not my hands.

This is the year of deportations and mothers bereaved
of all of their sons. The year of third and fourth tours,
of cutting-edge weaponry and old-fashioned guns.

Last year was no better, and this year only lays the ......groundwork
for the years that are to come. Listen, this is a year like no ......other.

This is the year the doctors struck for want of aid
and schoolchildren were sent home in the morning

and lights and gas were unreliable
and, harvesters suspect, fruit had no recourse but rot.

Many are dying for want of a cure, and the poet is patient
and her hands cause the least of her pain.

-Camille T. Dungy      

From Smith Blue (Southern Illinois University Press, 2011) 

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