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being in life unpracticed

March 30, 2012

Adrienne Rich

from Midnight Salvage. 6


Past the curve where the old craftsman was run down

there’s a yard called Midnight Salvage

He was walking in the road which was always safe

The young driver did not know that road

its curves or that people walked there

or that you could speed yet hold the curve

watching for those who walked there

such skills he did not have being in life unpracticed


but I have driven that road in madness and driving rain

thirty years in love and pleasure and grief-blind

on ice I have driven it and in the vague haze of summer

between clumps of daisies and sting of fresh cowflop odors

lucky I am I hit nobody old or young

killed nobody left no trace

practiced in life as I am

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 30, 2012 12:11 am

    From the poet who in the same poem could say she “Had never expected hope would form itself / completely in my time” but that she could “look through history’s bloodshot eyes” with “this horrible patience which is part of the work.”

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