Thursday, 11 October 2012

Day 111: Storm Warnings


There are many kinds of storms we must face in this life. 

Adrienne Rich knew a lot about them - activist, feminist, woman writer in a time when womens' rights were shaky to say the least (she was writing circa 1950s and onwards). But she persisted in her role first and foremost as an individual amongst the conforming masses - a hurricane in itself. 

But then of course, there are the emotional storms - 'weather abroad and weather in the heart  alike come regardless of prediction' - that we all know. Rich outlines the experience of 'weathering' them here too, which results in a poem of survival, strength, tenacity and resolve. 


Storm Warnings - Adrienne Rich

The glass has been falling all the afternoon,
And knowing better than the instrument
What winds are walking overhead, what zone
Of grey unrest is moving across the land,
I leave the book upon a pillowed chair
And walk from window to closed window, watching
Boughs strain against the sky


And think again, as often when the air
Moves inward toward a silent core of waiting,
How with a single purpose time has traveled
By secret currents of the undiscerned
Into this polar realm. Weather abroad
And weather in the heart alike come on
Regardless of prediction. 


Between foreseeing and averting change
Lies all the mastery of elements
Which clocks and weatherglasses cannot alter.
Time in the hand is not control of time,
Nor shattered fragments of an instrument
A proof against the wind; the wind will rise,
We can only close the shutters. 


I draw the curtains as the sky goes black
And set a match to candles sheathed in glass
Against the keyhole draught, the insistent whine
Of weather through the unsealed aperture.
This is our sole defense against the season;
These are the things we have learned to do
Who live in troubled regions. 

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