Monday, August 20, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twenty-Five (Rukeyser)

Muriel Rukeyser
"The Sixth Night: Waking"
From Out of Silence

Sometimes it only takes a few words to make a stunning poem that shoots into the heart of truth. These poems seem to roll into the waking world as if from a dream--effortless and surreal. Bless Muriel Rukeyser for this one!

If you're not familiar with Rukeyser's work, she was an extraordinary poet and human being. She was also a reporter and political activist, and she's known for her poems about feminist issues, social justice, and equality. 

In an interview with the Paris Review, former US Poet Laureate William Meredith said, "She was a very amazing human being and any traces of honesty in my life come from having seen how beautifully honest she was in administering her life and her poetry without any separation—you couldn't get a knife between the two things with her."

This poem, though short, so perfectly exemplifies the central role that poetry played in Rukeyser's life and what her poetry meant to other people. I hope you will join me in memorizing it this week!

The Sixth Night: Waking

That first Green night of their dreaming, asleep beneath the
God said, "Let meanings move," and there was poetry.

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