Adrienne Rich





The Fact of a Doorframe

means there is something to hold 
onto with both hands 
while slowly thrusting my forehead against the wood 
and taking it away 
one of the oldest motions of suffering 
as Makeba sings 
a courage-song for warriors 
music is suffering made powerful 

I think of the story 
of the goose-girl who passed through the high gate 
where the head of her favorite mare 
was nailed to the arch 
and in a human voice 
If she could see thee now, thy mother's heart would break
said the head 
of Falada 

Now, again, poetry, 
violent, arcane, common, 
hewn of the commonest living substance 
into archway, portal, frame 
I grasp for you, your bloodstained splinters, your 
ancient and stubborn poise 
—as the earth trembles— 
burning out from the grain 


spoken = Karen Marek