A Gift for Burning

This poem was shared as part of the liturgy at St. Lydia’s tonight. I resonate with these images on a number of levels.

Song

by Adrienne Rich

You’re wondering if I’m lonely:
OK then, yes, I’m lonely
as a plane rides lonely and level
on its radio beam, aiming
across the Rockies
for the blue-strung aisles
of an airfield on the ocean.

You want to ask, am I lonely?
Well, of course, lonely
as a woman driving across country
day after day, leaving behind
mile after mile
little towns she might have stopped
and lived and died in, lonely

If I’m lonely
it must be the loneliness
of waking first, of breathing
dawns’ first cold breath on the city
of being the one awake
in a house wrapped in sleep

If I’m lonely
it’s with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows it’s neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning

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On The Hard

“Thought that does not capitulate before wretched existence comes to nought before its criteria, truth becomes untruth, philosophy becomes folly. And yet philosophy cannot give up, lest idiocy triumph in actualized unreason … Folly is truth in the shape that human beings must accept whenever, amid the untrue, they do not give up truth. Even at the highest peaks art is semblance; but art receives the semblance … from nonsemblance … . No light falls on people and things in which transcendence would not appear. Indelible in resistance to the fungible world of exchange is the resistance of the eye that does not want the world’s colors to vanish. In semblance nonsemblance is promised.” – Theodor Adorno (Negative Dialectics, p 404–5)