Friday, March 12, 2010

Razor's Edge for 3/12/10

In honor of Oregon's Poetry Out Loud state championship competition, this week's theme is, you guessed it, poetry!

One of the poems on my list to interpret is "What Kind of Times are These" by Adrienne Rich. There are about 70 poems on our list that the students will be performing (with five or six being done twice). This is one that stands out for me and fitting as a prompt.

So -take a moment to center yourself. Or go for a walk or a bath or a bike ride and return. Then read the Adrienne Rich poem below. Next start the Ani DiFranco video, Evolve, and look at the picture.

Take 10 minutes to write. Or paint. Or move about. Or sculpt. Create what you see and feel in this week's trio.

What Kind of Times Are These

by Adrienne Rich

There's a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted
who disappeared into those shadows.

I've walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don't be fooled
this isn't a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here,
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread,
its own ways of making people disappear.

I won't tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods
meeting the unmarked strip of light—
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise:
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear.

And I won't tell you where it is, so why do I tell you
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these
to have you listen at all, it's necessary
to talk about trees.

What do you know about this place. Who or what goes there? Why? Tell me a story of those who are in the place and what they do.

photograph of Cukang Taneuh