Like This Together Poem by Adrienne Rich

Like This Together by Adrienne Rich

Like This Together by Adrienne Rich.

Poet Adrienne Rich1.

Wind rocks the car.

We sit parked by the river,

silence between our teeth.

Birds scatter across islands

of broken ice. Another time

I’d have said, “Canada geese,”

knowing you love them.

A year, ten years from now

I’ll remember this—

this sitting like drugged birds

in a glass case—

not why, only that we

were here like this together.

2.

They’re tearing down, tearing up

this city block, block by block

Rooms cut in half

hang like flayed carcasses,

their old roses in rags,

famous streets have forgotten

where they were going. Only

a fact could be so dreamlike.

They’re tearing down the houses

we met and lived in,

soon our two bodies will be all

left standing from that era.

3.

We have, as they say,

certain things in common.

I mean: a view

from a bathroom window

over slate to stiff pigeons

huddled every morning; the way

water tastes from our tap,

which you marvel at, letting

it splash into the glass.

Because of you I notice

the taste of water,

a luxury I might

otherwise have missed.

4.

Our words misunderstand us.

Sometimes at night

you are my mother:

old detailed griefs

twitch at my dreams, and I

crawl against you, fighting

for shelter, making you

my cave. Sometimes

you’re the wave of birth

that drowns me in my first

nightmare. I suck the air.

Miscarried knowledge twists us

like hot sheets thrown askew.

5.

Dead winter doesn’t die,

it wears away, a piece of carrion

picked clean at last,

rained away or burnt dry.

Our desiring does this,

make no mistake, I’m speaking

of fact: through mere indifference

we could prevent it.

Only our fierce attention

gets hyacinths out of those

hard cerebral lumps,

unwraps the wet buds down

the whole length of a stem.

6.

The severed hand still suffers

beyond the stump.

But new life, how do we bare it?

You or huge tree when lightning strikes.

Fresh new flames spurting

through our old sealed skins,

susceptibilities ours, and yet not ours

sucking blind power from our roots.

What is there to do but

hold on to the one thing we know,

grip Earth and let burn.

adrienne rich, favorites, inspiration, noteworthy people, poem, poetry, shit i love, words

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Hello Jess- It is my favourite too. Something was really disturbing me. You omitted ‘thrown’. It’s “like hot sheets thrown askew”. I love it madly, but I prefer the original poem as printed in ‘Necessities of Life'(1966). The original poem ends with “stem”, there is no 6th stanza. It is still magnificent.

    Reply
    • Patricia, thanks so much for catching that! Wow, talk about a good eye. I have made the correction now. Never knew this was taken from another poem- fascinating. She truly was a remarkable writer. Thanks again for the catch & for reading!

      Reply
  • I’d love to read an analysis on this poem, it made me think and ponder.

    Reply

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