Nox Oculis

Adrienne Rich (1929- )

Poétesse et écrivaine américaine née à Baltimore, au Maryland, en 1929. Elle est l'auteur de plus de 20 volumes de poésie. En 1999, elle reçut le Lifetime Achievement Award de la Lannan Foundation. Elle est récipiendaire de plusieurs prix et distinctions honorifiques : Academy Fellowship, le Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, le Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, le National Book Award, et le MacArthur Fellowship. Sa poésie a des résonances féministes et touche au thème de l'identitié sexuelle.

Adrienne Rich vit en Californie.

For the Conjunction of Two Planets

    We smile at astrological hopes
    And leave the sky to expert men
    Who do not reckon horoscopes
    But painfully extend their ken
    In mathematical debate
    With slide and photographic plate

    And yet, protest it if we will,
    Some corner of the mind retains
    The Medieval man who still
    Keeps watch upon those starry skeins
    And drives us out of doors at night
    To gaze at anagrams of light.

    Whatever register or law
    Is drawn in digits for these two
    Venus and Jupiter keep their awe,
    Wardens of brilliance, as they do
    Their dual circuit of the west --
    The brightest planet and her guest.

    Is any light so proudly thrust
    From darkness on our lifted faces
    A sign of something we can trust,
    Or is it that in starry places
    We see the things we long to see
    In fiery iconography ?

    Adrienne Cecile Rich


    Far back when I went zig-zagging
    through tamarack pastures
    you were my genius, you
    my cast-iron Viking, my helmed
    lion-heart king in prison.
    Years later now you're young

    my fierce half-brother, staring
    down from that simplified west
    your breast open, your belt dragged down
    by an oldfashioned thing, a sword
    the last bravado you won't give over
    though it weighs you down as you stride

    and the stars in it are dim
    and maybe have stopped burning.
    But you burn, and I know it ;
    as I throw back my head to take you in
    and old transfusion happens again :
    divine astronomy is nothing to it.

    Indoors I bruise and blunder
    break faith, leave ill enough
    alone, a dead child born in the dark.
    Night cracks up over the chimney,
    pieces of time, frozen geodes
    come showering down in the grate.

    A man reaches behind my eyes
    and finds them empty
    a woman's head turns away
    from my head in the mirror
    children are dying my death
    and eating crumbs of my life.

    Pity is not your forte.
    Calmly you ache up there
    pinned aloft in your crow's nest,
    my speechless pirate !
    You take it all for granted
    and when I look you back

    it's with a starlike eye
    shooting its cold and egotistical spear
    where it can do least damage.
    Breath deep! No hurt, no pardon
    out here in the cold with you
    you with your back to the wall.

    Adrienne Cecile Rich


(Pensant à Caroline Herschel, 1750-1848, astronome et soeur de William)

    A woman in the shape of a monster
    a monster in the shape of a woman
    the skies are full of them

    a woman "in the snow
    among the Clocks and instruments
    or measuring the ground with poles"

    in her 98 years to discover
    8 comets

    she whom the moon ruled
    like us
    levitating into the night sky
    riding the polished lenses

    Galaxies of women, there
    doing penance for impetuousness
    ribs chilled
    in those spaces of the mind

    An eye,
    "virile, precise and absolutely certain"
    from the mad webs of Uranisborg
    encountering the NOVA

    every impulse of light exploding
    from the core
    as life flies out of us
    Tycho whispering at last
    "let me not seem to have lived in vain"

    What we see, we see
    and seeing is changing

    the light that shrivels a mountain
    and leaves a man alive

    heart sweating through my body

    The radio impulse
    pouring in from Taurus

    I am bombarded yet
    I stand

    I have been standing all my life in the
    direct path of a battery of signals
    the most accurately transmitted most
    untranslatable language in the universe
    I am a galactic cloud so deep
    so involuted that a light wave could take 15
    years to travel through me
    And has taken
    I am an instrument in the shape
    of a woman trying to translate pulsations
    into images
    for the relief of the body
    and the reconstruction of the mind

    Adrienne Cecile Rich, 1971

Références :

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