Adrienne Rich | 1977

Excerpt from Transcendental Etude

Vision begins to happen in such a life
as if a woman quietly walked away
from the argument and jargon in a room
and sitting down in the kitchen, began turning in her lap
bits of yarn, calico and velvet scraps,
laying them out absently on the scrubbed boards
in the lamplight, with small rainbow-colored shells
sent in cotton-wool from somewhere far away,
the skeins of milkweed from the nearest meadow--
original domestic silk, the finest findings--
and the dark blue petal of the petunia,
and the dry dark brown lace of seaweed;
not forgotten either, the shed silver
whisker of the cat,

the spiral of paper-wasp nest curling
beside the finch’s yellow feather.
Such a composition has nothing to do with eternity,
the striving for greatness, brilliance--
only with the musing of a mind
one with her body, experienced fingers quietly pushing
dark against bright, silk against roughness,
pulling the tenets of a life together
with no mere will to mastery,
only care for the many-lived, unending
forms in which she finds herself,
becoming now the shard of broken glass
slicing light in a corner, dangerous
to flesh, now plentiful, soft leaf
that wrapped round the throbbing finger, soothes the wound;
and now the stone foundation, rock shelf further
forming underneath everything that grows. 

“Excerpt from Transcendental Etude” from ...... by Adrienne Rich
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Weaving Hands. Photo by Hans Splinter

Weaving Hands. Photo by Hans Splinter