In Those Years

Adrienne Rich


In those years, people will say, we lost track
of the meaning of we, of you
we found ourselves
reduced to I
and the whole thing became
silly, ironic, terrible:
we were trying to live a personal life
and yes, that was the only life
we could bear witness to

But the great dark birds of history screamed and plunged
into our personal weather
They were headed somewhere else but their beaks and pinions drove
along the shore, through the rags of fog
where we stood, saying I


From The Yale Review, January 1992, issue 80.1.

Image: Detail from Antoine-François-Jean Claudet, “[Multiple Exposures of the Moon],” 1846-52