Everything in this post (including the title) is from separate posts on A Poet Reflects, but I thought that they went well together:
“I am composing on the typewriter late at night, thinking of today. How well we all spoke. A language is a map of our failures. Frederick Douglass wrote an English purer than Milton’s. People suffer highly in poverty. There are methods but we do not use them. Joan, who could not read, spoke some peasant form of French. Some of the suffering are: it is hard to tell the truth; this is America; I cannot touch you now. In America we have only the present tense. I am in danger. You are in danger. The burning of a book arouses no sensation in me. I know it hurts to burn. There are flames of napalm in Catonsville, Maryland. I know it hurts to burn. The typewriter is overheated, my mouth is burning. I cannot touch you and this is the oppressor’s language.”
~ Adrienne Rich, from “The Burning of Paper Instead of Children”
It has happened. Each time
I stroke a key it diverts me
to circuits that forward the quick march
to other circuits, rescinding the chance of choices.
By the time I arrive at
the location of the leaf of my prayer,
the yearning has been hemmed in.
I cannot recognize it as mine,
for it has been altered by
the mediating that hedges its spaces.
~ Peter Davison