The Dream of a Common Language

Adrienne Rich

When Adrienne Rich died earlier this year, I felt compelled to pick up something of hers, since I couldn’t recall reading much of her work before, though I felt familiar with her in principle. It took me a while to actually get to reading this since I haven’t been reading much poetry lately, and it often feels like a too drastic switching of mental gears when you are out of practice. But then this was so pleasing to read (after the initial gear switch) that I had some regret for hesitating.

The technology of silence
The rituals, etiquette

the blurring of terms
silence not absence

of words or music or even
raw sounds

Silence can be a plan
rigorously executed

the blueprint to a life

It is a presence
it has history     a form

Do not confuse it
with any kind of absence