Desdichada

By Muriel Rukeyser 1913–1980 Muriel Rukeyser
I.

For that you never acknowledged me, I acknowledge
the spring’s yellow detail, the every drop of rain,
the anonymous unacknowledged men and women.
The shine as it glitters in our child’s wild eyes,
one o’clock at night.       This river, this city,
the years of the shadow on the delicate skin
of my hand, moving in time.
Disinherited, annulled, finally disacknowledged
and all of my own asking.        I keep that wild dimension
of life and making and the spasm
upon my mouth as I say this word of acknowledge
to you forever.        Ewig.        Two o’clock at night.



II.

While this my day and my people are a country not yet born
it has become an earth I can
acknowledge.       I must.        I know what the
disacknowledgment does.        Then I do take you,
but far under consciousness, knowing
that under under flows a river wanting
the other :  to go open-handed in Asia,
to cleanse the tributaries and the air, to make for making,
to stop selling death and its trash, pour plastic down men’s throats,
to let this child find, to let men and women find,
knowing the seeds in us all.        They do say Find.
I cannot acknowledge it entire.        But I will.
A beginning, this moment, perhaps, and you.



III.

Death flowing down past me, past me, death
marvelous, filthy, gold,
in my spine in my sex upon my broken mouth
and the whole beautiful mouth of the child;
shedding power over me
death
if I acknowledge him.
Leading me
in my own body
at last in the dance.

Muriel Rukeyser, “Desdichada” from The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser. Copyright © 2006 by Muriel Rukeyser. Reprinted by permission of International Creative Management.

Source: Breaking Open (Random House Inc., 1973)

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Poet Muriel Rukeyser 1913–1980

Subjects Living, Death, Life Choices, The Body, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

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 Muriel  Rukeyser

Biography

Although poet Muriel Rukeyser often provoked a varying critical response to her work, there was never any doubt during her five-decade literary career that a resounding passion was on display. Of her first book, the award-winning collection Theory of Flight, W. R. Benet remarked in the Saturday Review of Literature : "She is a radical politically, but she writes as a poet not a propagandist. When you hold this book in your hand . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Death, Life Choices, The Body, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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