Here I set your memory ablaze; may it burn until it glows...
i came here to say why poetry matters, this infintesimal non-place here, this little question that is everything--so here is a poem, and a promise that there is someone (me) out there who really believes, not in reflex or with thoughtfulness, but really trusts, with stubborness and hope, that it matters.it's not my poem, maybe i'll write one someday with your question as the title. and it's probably one you know well. but i offer it, nevertheless.peace to you.Diving into the Wreck by Adrienne RichFirst having read the book of myths,and loaded the camera,and checked the edge of the knife-blade,I put onthe body-armor of black rubberthe absurd flippersthe grave and awkward mask.I am having to do thisnot like Cousteau with hisassiduous teamaboard the sun-flooded schoonerbut here alone.There is a ladder.The ladder is always therehanging innocentlyclose to the side of the schooner.We know what it is for,we who have used it.Otherwiseit is a piece of maritime flosssome sundry equipment.I go down.Rung after rung and stillthe oxygen immerses methe blue lightthe clear atomsof our human air.I go down.My flippers cripple me,I crawl like an insect down the ladderand there is no oneto tell me when the oceanwill begin.First the air is blue and thenit is bluer and then green and thenblack I am blacking out and yetmy mask is powerfulit pumps my blood with powerthe sea is another storythe sea is not a question of powerI have to learn aloneto turn my body without forcein the deep element.And now: it is easy to forgetwhat I came foramong so many who have alwayslived hereswaying their crenellated fansbetween the reefsand besidesyou breathe differently down here.I came to explore the wreck.The words are purposes.The words are maps.I came to see the damage that was doneand the treasures that prevail.I stroke the beam of my lampslowly along the flankof something more permanentthan fish or weedthe thing I came for:the wreck and not the story of the wreckthe thing itself and not the myththe drowned face always staringtoward the sunthe evidence of damageworn by salt and away into this threadbare beautythe ribs of the disastercurving their assertionamong the tentative haunters.This is the place.And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair streamsblack, the merman in his armored body.We circle silentlyabout the wreckwe dive into the hold.I am she: I am hewhose drowned face sleeps with open eyeswhose breasts still bear the stresswhose silver, copper, vermeil cargo liesobscurely inside barrelshalf-wedged and left to rotwe are the half-destroyed instrumentsthat once held to a coursethe water-eaten logthe fouled compassWe are, I am, you areby cowardice or couragethe one who find our wayback to this scenecarrying a knife, a cameraa book of mythsin whichour names do not appear.
Tamie, thank you so much! No, I actually didn't know this poem by Rich, but I've very glad I do now. I love it! And thank you for caring...Ashraf
Post a Comment