Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Song, by Adrienne Rich


National Poetry Month, for me, demands a diet rich in poems. This is simply called "Song" by Adrienne Rich.

You're wondering if I'm lonely:
Okay, 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
dawn's 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.


I was going to post the poem with no further comment today but as I've been typing it I realize it is an answer to a discussion in a class last week about aging in which was put forth the finding of various researchers that aging people do better longer if they are involved in a social network. I do not dispute that except the matter arose, what of people who are loners by nature? I fit in this category, I have not lead what's considered a loner life but I have lived lone more than half my life and like it. I travel alone [but often with a group of strangers] I like to go to cultural events alone, I like to walk alone, I treasure my aloneness. I think Adrienne Rich has defined "loneliness" for me -- and perhaps that is true for most of us who write or have pursued other artistic lives.

2 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- I believe people that pursue writing have an inner dwelling of solitude. Most artistic endeavors seem to pivot around this need in order to create their work. Lovely poem. -- barbara

nacodoches said...

Thanks so much. I hadn't thought about Adrianne Rich in a while. I too am a loner, and I like it like that. I get depressed driving through the subburbs and thinking about all those mindless parties I used to attend. Lonliness is good. We are special. Too bad if some others cannot understand. Also, I have my dogs, parrots, canary. Dianne