Hubble Photographs: After Sappho – Adrienne Rich

It should be the most desired sight of all

the person with whom you hope to live and die

walking into a room, turning to look at you, sight for sight

Should be yet I say there is something

more desirable: the ex-stasis of galaxies

so out from us there’s no vocabulary

but mathematics and optics

equations letting sight pierce through time

into liberations, lacerations of light and dust

exposed like a body’s cavity, violet green livid and venous, gorgeous

—beyond good and evil as ever stained into dream

beyond remorse, disillusion, fear of death

or life, rage

for order, rage for destruction

beyond this love which stirs

the air every time she walks into the room

These impersonae, however we call them

won’t invade us as on movie screens

they are so old, so new, we are not to them

we look at them or don’t from within the milky gauze

of our tilted gazing

but they don’t look back and we cannot hurt them

Adrienne Rich

 

Storm Warning – Adrienne Rich

The glass has been falling all the afternoon,

And knowing better than the instrument

What winds are walking overhead, what zone

Of grey unrest is moving across the land,

I leave the book upon a pillowed chair

And walk from window to closed window, watching

Boughs strain against the sky

And think again, as often when the air

Moves inward toward a silent core of waiting,

How with a single purpose time has traveled

By secret currents of the undiscerned

Into this polar realm. Weather abroad

And weather in the heart alike come on

Regardless of prediction.

Between foreseeing and averting change

Lies all the mastery of elements

Which clocks and weatherglasses cannot alter.

Time in the hand is not control of time,

Nor shattered fragments of an instrument

A proof against the wind; the wind will rise,

We can only close the shutters.

I draw the curtains as the sky goes black

And set a match to candles sheathed in glass

Against the keyhole draught, the insistent whine

Of weather through the unsealed aperture.

This is our sole defense against the season;

These are the things we have learned to do

Who live in troubled regions.

Storm Warning – Adrienne Rich

The glass has been falling all the afternoon, 

And knowing better than the instrument 

What winds are walking overhead, what zone 

Of grey unrest is moving across the land, 

I leave the book upon a pillowed chair

And walk from window to closed window, watching 

Boughs strain against the sky

And think again, as often when the air

Moves inward toward a silent core of waiting,

How with a single purpose time has traveled

By secret currents of the undiscerned

Into this polar realm. Weather abroad

And weather in the heart alike come on

Regardless of prediction.

Between foreseeing and averting change

Lies all the mastery of elements

Which clocks and weatherglasses cannot alter.

Time in the hand is not control of time,

Nor shattered fragments of an instrument

A proof against the wind; the wind will rise,

We can only close the shutters.

I draw the curtains as the sky goes black

And set a match to candles sheathed in glass

Against the keyhole draught, the insistent whine

Of weather through the unsealed aperture.

This is our sole defense against the season;

These are the things we have learned to do

Who live in troubled regions.