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Transactions with Beauty.
Pour yourself a cup of coffee or tea and relax. 
Thanks for being here.
And remember, 
you are required to make something beautiful.

- Shawna

 

 

Torn Between Bitterness and Hope

Torn Between Bitterness and Hope

After watching the bravery of Christine Blasey Ford yesterday, and then far too much of what followed, and not getting enough work of my own done (but it seemed impossible to look away), I needed some poetry.

pink tea cup

I don’t think there has yet been written a poem that perfectly suits this exact moment in time, but I have faith that it is being created even now.

flowers in a tomato tin

But for now, how about this one by Adrienne Rich?

XIII (Dedications)

by Adrienne Rich

I know you are reading this poem 
late, before leaving your office 
of the one intense yellow lamp-spot and the darkening window 
in the lassitude of a building faded to quiet 
long after rush-hour. I know you are reading this poem 
standing up in a bookstore far from the ocean 
on a grey day of early spring, faint flakes driven 
across the plains’ enormous spaces around you. 
I know you are reading this poem 
in a room where too much has happened for you to bear 
where the bedclothes lie in stagnant coils on the bed 
and the open valise speaks of flight 
but you cannot leave yet. I know you are reading this poem 
as the underground train loses momentum and before running 
up the stairs 
toward a new kind of love 
your life has never allowed. 
I know you are reading this poem by the light 
of the television screen where soundless images jerk and slide 
while you wait for the newscast from the intifada. 
I know you are reading this poem in a waiting-room 
of eyes met and unmeeting, of identity with strangers. 
I know you are reading this poem by fluorescent light 
in the boredom and fatigue of the young who are counted out, 
count themselves out, at too early an age. I know 
you are reading this poem through your failing sight, the thick 
lens enlarging these letters beyond all meaning yet you read on 
because even the alphabet is precious. 
I know you are reading this poem as you pace beside the stove 
warming milk, a crying child on your shoulder, a book in your 
hand 
because life is short and you too are thirsty. 
I know you are reading this poem which is not in your language 
guessing at some words while others keep you reading 
and I want to know which words they are. 
I know you are reading this poem listening for something, torn 
between bitterness and hope 
turning back once again to the task you cannot refuse. 
I know you are reading this poem because there is nothing else 
left to read 
there where you have landed, stripped as you are.

– from An Atlas of the Difficult World
{source}

You might like to listen to Jane Hirshfield read the poem and talk about it in the following audio clip which can be found here at the Library of Congress. I’m glad I did.

tomato tin flowers
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