Adrienne Cecile Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012) was an American poet, essayist and feminist.
She was called “one of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century”, and was credited with bringing “the oppression of women and lesbians to the forefront of poetic discourse.”
What kind of beast would turn its life into words?
What atonement is this all about?
—and yet, writing words like these, I’m also living.
Is all this close to the wolverine’s howled signals,
that modulated cantata of the wild?
or, when away from you I try to create you in words,
am I simply using you, like a river or a war?
And how have I used rivers, how have I used wars
to escape writing of the worst thing of all—
not the crimes of others, not even our own death,
but the failure to want our own freedom passionately enough
so that blighted elms, sick rivers, massacres would seem
mere emblems of that desecration of ourselves?
THE FLOATING POEM, UNNUMBERED
Whatever happens with us, your body
will haunt mine—tender, delicate
your lovemaking, like the half-curled frond
of the fiddlehead fern in forests
just washed by sun. Your traveled, generous thighs
between which my whole face has come and come—
the innocence and wisdom of the place my tongue has found there—
the live, insatiate dance of your nipples in my mouth—
your touch on me, firm, protective, searching
me out, your strong tongue and slender fingers
reaching where I had been waiting years for you
in my rose-wet cave—whatever happens, this is.