The Passing of an Icon


My heart is heavy as I heard of the passing of one of the great feminist leaders of our time. Adrienne Rich was a feminist and a poet. She authored the book ” Of Woman Born ” and many books of poetry.

Adrienne was born in 1929. In the 1960’s her poetry took a turn from the more traditional style to a radical feminist format. She wrote about how poetry can break isolation,she  reminded us of creating beauty where there is no beauty and  reminded us of our Sisterhood.

From a Survivor

The pact that we made was the ordinary pact
of men and women in those days
I don’t know who we thought we were
that our personalities
could resist the failures of the race
Lucky or unlucky, we didn’t know the race had failures of that order
and that we were going to share them
Like everybody else, we thought of ourselves as special
Your body is as vivid to me as it ever was;
even more since my feeling for it is clearer;
I know what it could do and could not do
it is no longer the body of a god or anything
with power over my life
Next year it would have been 20 years
and you are wastefully dead
who might have make the leap we talked,
too late, of making which I live now not as a leap
but a succession of brief, amazing
movements each one making possible the next.”

—–Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich described her poetry as political and as personal. One of her poems, “Power ” speaks of how women find it very difficult to grab onto and to raise up their talents and successes and dreams. In “Power.” she speaks of Marie Curie, the scientist.

“She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
denying
her wounds came from the same source
as her power.”
This is from one of her books of poetry called, “The Dream of a Common Language; Poems 1974-1977.

So I say goodbye to a heroine and icon and I will end with this excerpt from her poem “Translations.”

You show me the poems of some woman
my age, or younger
translated from your language

Certain words occur; enemy, oven, sorrow
enough to let me know
she’s a woman of my time.”

Thank you for your contributions to the cause of women’s rights and RIP.

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9 thoughts on “The Passing of an Icon

  1. We were privileged that she shared this planet with us and graced us with her strength and energy. Blessed that she has left so many words behind for us and generations hence to continue to grasp her truths.

  2. Sandra C. says:

    thank for sharing the sory of this inspiring woman i’ve never heard before about her but she was a light in the darkness surely !

  3. bani.amor says:

    This is the first I’m hearing of this. So overwhelmed. Great post, and thanks!

  4. mountainmae says:

    We are supported by the courage and grace of those who went before us. The beauty of her words touch me. Thank you for sharing news of her passing. Think of how the world has changed within her time.

  5. She was favorite poet of mine as well. She had a remarkable gift for expressing layered states of emotion in simple, clear, evocative language. A true master. I also am always appreciative of her honesty on so many subjects.

  6. Superb! I am reminded of a song by Helen Reddy ” I Am Woman” Hear me Roar”. Let them hear us “ROAR” on November 6th!

    • barbaramattio says:

      I also remember that song and have tried to take the lyrics to heart during my lifetime. We will roar on Nov. 6!

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