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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Toward Freedom

Filed under: General — m759 @ 12:00 PM

A search for “Dark Fields of the Republic,”
an F. Scott Fitzgerald phrase mentioned in
the previous post, yields a book by that title.

“When does a life bend toward freedom?
grasp its direction?”
— Adrienne Rich on page 275 of
Later Poems Selected and New: 1971-2012

The book’s author, Adrienne Rich, died at 82 on
March 27, 2012. See that date in this journal.

See also the following:

The Diamond Cutters
by Adrienne Rich (1955)

However legendary,
The stone is still a stone,
though it had once resisted
The weight of Africa,
The hammer-blows of time
That wear to bits of rubble
The mountain and the pebble–
But not this coldest one.

Now, you intelligence
So late dredged up from dark
Upon whose smoky walls
Bison took fumbling form
Or flint was edged on flint–
Now, careful arriviste,
Delineate at will
Incisions in the ice.

Be serious, because
The stone may have contempt
For too-familiar hands,
And because all you do
Loses or gains by this:
Respect the adversary,
Meet it with tools refined,
And thereby set your price.

Be hard of heart, because
the stone must leave your hand.
Although you liberate
Pure and expensive fires
Fit to enamor Shebas,
Keep your desire apart.
Love only what you do,
And not what you have done.

Be proud, when you have set
The final spoke of flame
In that prismatic wheel,
And nothing’s left this day
Except to see the sun
Shine on the false and the true,
And know that Africa
will yield you more to do.

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