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Saturday, May 21, 2016

No promises, but hope - Saturday's Poem


“The moment of change is the only poem.” Adrienne Rich
 
Adrienne Cecile Rich, born in May 1929, was an American poet, essayist and feminist called "One of the most widely read and influential poets of the second half of the 20th century” in text accompanying the prestigious MacArthur (Genius) Fellowship, awarded to her in 1994.
 
Her works span 7 decades, including dozens of poetry collections, a dozen nonfiction books, and a huge number of essays.  Rich’s collection Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972  won the National Book Award.  She also was awarded the Frost Medal and the Lifetime Recognition Award from the Griffin Poetry Prize.      
  In the mid-1990s she famously refused the National Medal for the Arts in protest of the failure of Congress to provide funding for the arts.

Rich frequently spoke and wrote on behalf of the oppressed and on the plight of immigrants.  Here, for Saturday’s Poem is her short piece,

Prospective Immigrants, Please Note
Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.

If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.

Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.

If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily

to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely

but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?

The door itself
makes no promises.
It is only a door.


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