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Paula Becker To Clara Westhoff Analysis



Author: Poetry of Adrienne Rich Type: Poetry Views: 178

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1976The autumn feels slowed down,

summer still holds on here, even the light

seems to last longer than it should

or maybe I'm using it to the thin edge.

The moon rolls in the air. I didn't want this child.

You're the only one I've told.

I want a child maybe, someday, but not now.

Otto has a calm, complacent way

of following me with his eyes, as if to say

Soon you'll have your hands full!

And yes, I will; this child will be mine

not his, the failures, if I fail

will all be mine. We're not good, Clara,

at learning to prevent these things,

and once we have a child it is ours.

But lately I feel beyond Otto or anyone.

I know now the kind of work I have to do.

It takes such energy! I have the feeling I'm

moving somewhere, patiently, impatiently,in my loneliness. I'm looking everywhere in nature

for new forms, old forms in new places,

the planes of an antique mouth, let's say, among the leaves.

I know and do not know

what I am searching for.

Remember those months in the studio together,

you up to your strong forearms in wet clay,

I trying to make something of the strange impressions

assailing me--the Japanese

flowers and birds on silk, the drunks

sheltering in the Louvre, that river-light,

those faces...Did we know exactlywhy we were there? Paris unnerved you,

you found it too much, yet you went on

with your work...and later we met there again,

both married then, and I thought you and Rilke

both seemed unnerved. I felt a kind of joylessness

between you. Of course he and Ihave had our difficulties. Maybe I was jealous

of him, to begin with, taking you from me,

maybe I married Otto to fill up

my loneliness for you.

Rainer, of course,





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