Thursday, May 28, 2009

Twenty-One Love Poems, VI, by Adrienne Rich


Prelude in B minor, arranged for piano by Alexander Siloti
from Prelude in E minor BWV 855a by J. S. Bach
with Emil Gilels


Your small hands, precisely equal to my own -
only the thumb is larger, longer - in these hands
I could trust the world, or in many hands like these,
handling power-tools or steering-wheel
or touching a human face...such hands could turn
the unborn child rightways in the birth canal
or pilot the exploratory rescue-ship
through icebergs, or piece together
the fine, needle-like shreds of a great krater-cup
bearing on its sides
fingers of ecstatic women striding
to the sibyl's den or the Eleusinian cave -
such hands might carry out an unavoidable violence
with such restraint, with such a grasp
of the range and limits of violence
that violence ever after would be obsolete.


in The Fact of a Door Frame: Poems Selected and New, 1950-84, WW Norton & Co (1985)

6 comments:

m said...

thanks, vv, and your friend, for the music

Manuela said...

poem from http://www.sabrinaaiellophotography.com/files/Complete_21_Love_Poems_by_Adrienne_Rich.htm

Every Photo Tells A Story said...

What a beautiful and haunting piece of music. I've listened to it a couple of times already. I love classical music, but prefer adagios and nocturnes because of their soothing quality. This definitely soothes the soul.

Very nice, thank you:)

Manuela said...

I know, isn't it? I've listened to it so many times since I was given it a few days ago - it does soothe the soul, and right away I also knew with poem had the same gentle strength...

I'm glad to know it spoke to you, thank you for the comment!

I'm thinking you may also like the Schubert pieces, if you want to try some more :)

ffflaneur said...

such hands might carry out an unavoidable violence
with such restraint, with such a grasp
of the range and limits of violence
that violence ever after would be obsolete.


am absolutely enthralled by those lines. I find them rousing, and poignant --- they evoke that crucial, tragic longing for a combination of power & sympathetic restraint, a combination which is so rare (so rare in any case within this human species)

Manuela said...

ffflaneur, thank you for these thoughts

those lines have also stayed with me since i first read them - i found very touching her understanding of how a woman's hands would hold power. and since reading her quote about how poetry can add its grain towards a change in consciousness (on the sidebar) i'm also thinking of this with more hope. or thinking that she chose to think/write of it with hope.