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Shattered Head Analysis

Author: poem of Adrienne Rich Type: poem Views: 11

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A life hauls itself uphill

through hoar-mist steaming

the sun's tongue licking

leaf upon leaf into stricken liquid

When? When? cry the soothseekers

but time is a bloodshot eye

seeing its last of beauty its own


a bloodshot mind

finding itself unspeakable

What is the last thought?

Now I will let you know?

or, Now I know?

(porridge of skull-splinters, brain tissue

mouth and throat membrane, cranial fluid)

Shattered head on the breast

of a wooded hill

Laid down there endlessly so

tendrils soaked into matted compose

became a root

torqued over the faint springhead

groin whence illegible

matter leaches: worm-borings, spurts of silt

volumes of sporic changes

hair long blown into far follicles

blasted into a chosen place

Revenge on the head (genitals, breast, untouched)

revenge on the mouth

packed with its inarticulate confessions

revenge on the eyes

green-gray and restless

revenge on the big and searching lips

the tender tongue

revenge on the sensual, on the nose the

carrier of history

revenge on the life devoured

in another incineration

You can walk by such a place, the earth is

made of them

where the stretched tissue of a field or woods

is humid

with beloved matter

the soothseekers have withdrawn

you feel no ghost, only a sporic chorus

when that place utters its worn sigh

let us have peace

And the shattered head answers back

And I believed I was loved, I believed I loved

Who did this to us?


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