from Twenty-One Love Poems (Adrienne Rich)
Your silence today is a pond where drowned things live
I want to see raised dripping and brought into the sun.
It’s not my own face I see there, but other faces,
even your face at another age.
Whatever’s lost there is needed by both of us -
a watch of old gold, a water-blurred fever chart,
a key … Even the silt and pebbles of the bottom
deserve their glint of recognition. I fear this silence,
this inarticulate life. I’m waiting
for a wind that will gently open this sheeted water
for once and show me what I can do
for you, who have often made the unnameable
nameable for others, even for me.
Your dog, tranquil and innocent, dozes through
our cries, our murmured dawn conspiracies
our telephone calls. She knows - what can she know?
If in my human arrogance I claim to read
her eyes, I find there only my own animal thoughts:
that creatures must find each other for bodily comfort,
that voices of the psyche drive through the flesh
further than the dense brain could have foretold,
that the planetary nights are growing cold for those
on the same journey, who want to touch
one creature-traveler clear to the end;
that without tenderness, we are in hell.