Sunday, 22 May 2016

What Kind of Times Are These 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.

“What Kind of Times Are These”. © 2002, 1995 by Adrienne Rich, from The Fact of a Doorframe: Selected Poems 1950-2001 by Adrienne Rich.
Source: Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems 1991-1995 (W. W. Norton and Company Inc., 1995)

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