Politics Magazine

Compass Song – Dreamwood

By Andrew Furst @a_furst
  DreamwoodCompass Songs is an ongoing series of works by poets that I enjoy. Poetry, as the Zen Masters have said, is like a finger pointing to the moon. It speaks the unspeakable.


by Adrienne Rich

In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing standthere is a landscape, veined, which only a child can seeor the child’s older self, a poet,a woman dreaming when she should be typingthe last report of the day. If this were a map,she thinks, a map laid down to memorizebecause she might be walking it, it showsridge upon ridge fading into hazed deserthere and there a sign of aquifersand one possible watering-hole. If this were a mapit would be the map of the last age of her life,not a map of choices but a map of variationson the one great choice. It would be the map by whichshe could see the end of touristic choices,of distances blued and purpled by romance,by which she would recognize that poetryisn’t revolution but a way of knowingwhy it must come. If this cheap, mass-producedwooden stand from the Brooklyn Union Gas Co.,mass-produced yet durable, being here now,is what it is yet a dream-mapso obdurate, so plain,she thinks, the material and the dream can joinand that is the poem and that is the late report.Get Each Week's Compass Song in your email box

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