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I Dream I'm the Death of Orpheus

Adrienne Rich


I Dream I'm the Death of Orpheus

Adrienne Rich


I Dream I'm the Death of Orpheus

I Dream I'm the Death of Orpheus

I am walking rapidly through striations of light and dark thrown under an arcade.

I am a woman in the prime of life, with certain powers
and those powers severely limited
by authorities whose faces I rarely see.
I am a woman in the prime of life
driving her dead poet in a black Rolls-Royce
through a landscape of twilight and thorns.
A woman with a certain mission
which if obeyed to the letter will leave her intact.
A woman with the nerves of a panther
a woman with contacts among Hell's Angels
a woman feeling the fullness of her powers
at the precise moment when she must not use them
a woman sworn to lucidity
who sees through the mayhem, the smoky fires
of these underground streets
her dead poet learning to walk backward against the wind
on the wrong side of the mirror

1968


from The Will to Change (W. W. Norton & Company, 1971), copyright © Adrienne Rich 1971, used by permission of the author