Wise Poets – Adrienne Rich – Power

Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929 – March 27, 2012)

Living    in the earth-deposits    of our history
Today a backhoe divulged    out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle    amber    perfect    a hundred-year-old
cure for fever    or melancholy    a tonic
for living on this earth    in the winters of this climate
Today I was reading about Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered    from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years    by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin    of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold    a test-tube or a pencil
She died    a famous woman    denying
her wounds
denying
her wounds    came    from the same source as her power

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