You're wondering if I'm lonely:
OK then, yes, I'm lonely
as a plane rides lonely and level
on its radio beam, aiming
across the Rockies
for the blue-strung aisles
of an airfield on the ocean
You want to ask, am I lonely?
well, of course, lonely
as a woman driving across country
day after day, leaving behind
mile after mile
little towns she might have stopped
and lived and died in, lonely
If I'm lonely, it must be the loneliness
of waking first, of breathing
dawn's first cold breath on the city
of being the one awake
in a house wrapped in sleep
If I'm lonely
it's with the rowboat ice-fast on the shore
in the last red light of the year
that knows what it is, that knows it's neither
ice nor mud nor winter light
but wood, with a gift for burning.
Adrienne Rich was born in Baltimore and graduated from Radcliffe College in 1951.
Her first book of poems, A Change of World, was published the same year.
She travelled to Holland where she learned Dutch to translate Dutch poetry. in 1966 she
moved to New York City and has taught poetry workshops at Columbia University and the
City College of NY.
She won the 1974 National Book Award for poetry for her book Diving into the Wreck.