Friday, March 30, 2012

Why I Write

When my wife and I listened to Adrienne Rich, who passed away Tuesday, March 27, 2012, read her poem What Kind of Times AreThese, my wife said, “There. That is why you write; because people still listen.” That's the simple truth.

What Kind of Times Are These – a poem by Adrienne Rich

There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.
I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled
this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.
I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.
And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it’s necessary
to talk about trees.
(Many thanks to Adrienne Rich and Democracy Now)

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