As many know, Adrienne Rich, noted poet, essayist, activist, died this week at the age of 82.
I knew of Adrienne Rich before college, but in college she became my "coming out" poet--kind of like the Indigo Girls were the coming out band of so many lesbians of my generation. While I moved beyond the Indigo Girls, I have always come back--again and again--to Adrienne Rich. When celebrities and other well-known types whom I have admired die, I usually have a feeling of "oh, that's too bad." But I feel a little more melancholy about the passing of Rich.
I know it's been done in many of the tributes and obituaries this week, but here is her poem, "Final Notations."
it will not be simple, it will not be long
it will take little time, it will take all your thought
it will take all your heart, it will take all your breath
it will be short, it will not be simple
it will touch through your ribs, it will take all your heart
it will not be long, it will occupy your thought
as a city is occupied, as a bed is occupied
it will take all your flesh, it will not be simple
you are coming into us who cannot withstand you
you are coming into us who never wanted to withstand you
you are taking parts of us into places never planned
you are going far away with pieces of our lives
it will be short, it will take all your breath
it will not be simple, it will become your will