“I have been a stranger in a strange land”- Rita Dove

 

Happy National Poetry Month! I am getting a late start so I will be posting tomorrow and possibly Saturday in an effort to make it up. But I’m super excited about this month. Poetry is everything! This Rita Dove poem is something that my class will be analyzing this month. There is something so exquisite about the way that she has layered emotion and truth throughout the piece.  It is so honest and I think that is the appeal of it for me. Well, that and the fact that she begins it with a Dickinson quote.  I hope you all enjoy!

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Life’s spell is so exquisite, everything conspires to break it.
-Emily Dickinson

 

It wasn’t bliss. What was bliss

but the ordinary life? She’d spend hours

in patter, moving through whole days

touching, sniffing, tasting . . . exquisite

housekeeping in a charmed world.

And yet there was always

 

more of the same, all that happiness,

the aimless Being There.

So she wandered for a while, bush to arbor,

lingered to look through a pond’s restive mirror.

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,

pretending he could organize

what was clearly someone else’s chaos.

 

That’s when she found the tree,

the dark, crabbed branches

bearing up such speechless bounty,

she knew without being told

this was forbidden. It wasn’t

a question of ownership—

who could lay claim to

such maddening perfection?

 

And there was no voice in her head,

no whispered intelligence lurking

in the leaves—just an ache that grew

until she knew she’d already lost everything

except desire, the red heft of it

warming her outstretched palm.

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