Adrienne Rich

Three Elegies

i. Late Style
Propped on elbow in stony light
Green lawns of entitlement
out the window you can neither
open nor close

man crouched in den flung trembling
back on failed gifts
lapsed desire   A falling
star   Dim, trapped
in the narrow place of fame

And beneath the skin a boredom
indecipherable fear

ii. As Ever
As ever, death.   Whenever, where.   But it’s
the drawn-together life we’re finally
muted by.   Must stand, regard as whole
what was still partial   still
under revision.   So it felt, so we thought.

Then to hear sweep
the scythe on grass
still witherless and sweet

iii. Fallen Figure
The stone walls will recede and the needs that laid them
scar of winter sun stretch low
behind the advancing junipers

darkness rise up from the whitening pond

Crusted silver your breath in this ditch
the pitchfork in your hand
still stuck to your hand

The northern lights
will float, probe, vacillate

the yellow eye
of the snowplow you used to drive
will seek and find you