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Speaking to those gone

I’m interrupting my normal posts (I sound a bit like a news reader) to put up a poem by Adrienne Rich from her collection Diving into the Wreck which came out in 1973 from W. W. Norton. On the blurb Margaret Atwood wrote:

Diving into the Wreck” is one of those rare books that force you to decide not just what you think of it, but what it makes you think about yourself. It is a book that takes risks, and forces the reader to take them also … You feel about her best images, her best myths, that nobody else writes like this.

This is for my friend Jon and for anyone you love.
 
 
For The Dead
by Adrienne Rich

I dreamed I called you on the telephone
to say: Be kinder to yourself
but you were sick and would not answer

The waste of my love goes on this way
trying to save you from yourself

I have always wondered about the left-over
energy, the way water goes rushing down a hill
long after the rains have stopped

or the fire you want to go to bed from
but cannot leave, burning-down but not burnt-down
the red coals more extreme, more curious
in their flashing and dying
than you wish they were
sitting long after midnight
 
 
Diving into the Wreck; Adrienne Rich; W. W. Norton and Company, 1973.
© W. W. Norton

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6 thoughts on “Speaking to those gone”

  1. Thank you for posting this lovely and important poem. I am sad to learn you have lost a friend. xx c

  2. I’ve always loved ‘Diving into the Wreck’. That poem is one of my all-time favourites. There’s so much in it, I haven’t even begun to understand the whole of it.

  3. This is a generous thing you’ve done, Abi – sharing this poem with us as a tribute to your friend, Jon – and for all the people we love. Thanks. I have never read the entire collection, but I’m to get a copy & when it arrives I’ll paste in this post of yours xx

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