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"and this is verbal privilege"

Anne Dalke's picture

Here's the passage from the Adrienne Rich poem that I mentioned (and mis-quoted!) @ the end of our discussion today, about the "permanence" of our taking a stand (in barometer) or in writing (especially on-line). It's from "North American Time," and seems (to me) to have resonances for voice, silence and vision:

"Everything we write
will be used against us
or against those we love.
These are the terms,
take them or leave them.
Poetry never stood a chance
of standing outside history.
One line typed twenty years ago
can be blazed on a wall in spraypaint
glorify art as detachment
or torture of those we
did not love but also
did not want to kill

We move but our words stand
become responsible
and this is verbal privilege...."