Friday, February 17, 2006

Punk Rock Poetry Friday


by Adrienne Rich

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
her wounds    came from the same source    as her power


Read about Adrienne Rich here.
Read about Marie Curie here.


* Things that annoy me about blogger: why wont it preserve the spacing in the lines above? This is a poem that uses both blank space at the ends and within the lines. Why won't it show it to you that way? To see what I mean, go look at the poem here.
[EDIT: thanks to reader JB I have fixed this problem.}

* When I was in fifth grade I read a biography of Marie Curie. She kept radium in a drawer. It exposed film. That's how she found out about radiation.

* Here in central texas, the temperature has dropped 40 degrees in a 1/4 as many hours. Dramatic sweep and change.

* In the 90's we went to hear Adrienne Rich read; was it in a church? I can't remember. It was sponsored by the Folger Shakespeare Library in DC. The have a bible that belonged to Queen Elizabeth, a copy of Chaucer that belonged to Ben Johnson, and a First Folio that belonged to a monk who not only inked out the lines in the plays that he deemed inappropiate, but excised the entirety of Measure for Measure. They also had a song/ hymn book that opened to reveal the songs' scores printed in four directions -- two pages opened as if they were many -- like a flower. This is so that one book could be shared by a circle of singers.


Jenny said...

I still think about that night. It was a church, I believe...across the street from the Folger. Those were some fun days.

JB said...

HTML does not recognize more than one blank space. You need to explicitly put the spaces in with the 'non breaking space' character. it looks like this:


Try it out!

poetic    license

femme feral said...

Thanks, jb!

I'm gonna try it right now.