The experience of repetition as death

Adrienne Rich: A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

My swirling wants. Your frozen lips.
The grammar turned and attacked me.
Themes, written under duress.
Emptiness of the notations.

They gave me a drug that slowed the healing of wounds.

I want you to see this before I leave:
the experience of repetition as death
the failure of criticism to locate the pain
the poster in the bus that said:
my bleeding is under control

A red plant in a cemetary of plastic wreaths.

A last attempt: the language is a dialect called metaphor.
These images go unglossed: hair, glacier, flashlight.
When I think of a landscape I am thinking of a time.
When I talk of taking a trip I mean forever.
I could say: those mountains have a meaning
but further than that I could not say.

To do something very common, in my own way.

I read this poem in the delicious volume of selected poems The Fact of a Doorframe. The poem was originally published in The Will to Change (1971). Both books are highly recommended.

One thought on “The experience of repetition as death

  1. Pingback: Still more work to do: RIP Adrienne Rich « shigekuni.

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