By Adrienne Rich
From magazine of recent Literature
"In an interview with invoice Moyers, Adrienne wealthy reviews that the identify poem of her 1991 quantity, An Atlas of the tricky international, "reflects at the situation of my state, which I wrote very consciously as a citizen poet, taking a look at the geography, the heritage, the folks of my country" (345). the categorical occasion that led wealthy to write down a poem in regards to the current of the us used to be the Persian Gulf conflict of 1991, which on a special celebration she describes because the first Bush administration's ploy to distract humans from family "anger and despair" ("I ensue to Think" 33). "An Atlas of the tricky World" is a longer inquiry into the character of patriotism in time of war—as wealthy says within the poem: "I am bent on fathoming what it ability to like my country" (Atlas 22). It services as either geography and historical past, supplying a wide ranging view of Nineteen Eighties and early Nineties America—the "difficult world" of the title—haunted by means of the contradictory legacies of freedom and oppression, idealism and materialism, democracy and capitalism. Like Whitman, whose attribute recommendations of catalogue and anecdote she borrows in her poem, wealthy acknowledges the nice promise of the USA, but additionally recognizes its adverse components. Like Muriel Rukeyser, the second one vital precursor within the poem, she takes her readers on a street journey to locations they in a different way may by no means danger to discover. Approximating in size T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, or even together with a few endnotes, "An Atlas of the tricky World" deals an image of present-day the United States in a kingdom of drawback which, wealthy hopes, can however be reversed and resolved."
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Additional info for An Atlas of the Difficult World: Poems 1988-1991
I have a bus to catch. My body’s late. Think of all the gazes whisking past me. Do not lift your hand up from the paper. Do not make me young.  Where She Always Was 3/16/04 12:55 PM Page 45 C I N D E R E L L A AT W O R K I will grow old very suddenly, perhaps while waltzing. Today I mopped the scuff marks from the marble floor and memorized more dance steps. Aging is weeping less. I slept dry-eyed through last night’s party. I envision ballrooms lit by zeal alone, tricked stars sliding in among the glazed white grapes.
I wish unsimply that you know how blind I am by sundown, each numb star an ancient orchid. I catch your breath amid the glistening of insects; and in dusk that wants a father, almost touch your cheek the old, ungilded way God touched you. I cannot bear to watch another petal sweep the shoulder of the haggard, gleaming girl who stoops above your grave.  Where She Always Was 3/16/04 12:55 PM Page 33 VIGIL Finally she lay with the sheets turned all the way back; her wig gone, fever down; basking in breezeless sleep while he came every hour to turn her, to place his fingers over the throat of her wrist as he’d been shown, and listen hard for the black wing-swish of her pulse: a moth not flying, clinging to light.
Do not lift your hand up from the paper. Do not make me young.  Where She Always Was 3/16/04 12:55 PM Page 45 C I N D E R E L L A AT W O R K I will grow old very suddenly, perhaps while waltzing. Today I mopped the scuff marks from the marble floor and memorized more dance steps. Aging is weeping less. I slept dry-eyed through last night’s party. I envision ballrooms lit by zeal alone, tricked stars sliding in among the glazed white grapes. And while I sleep and learn and this sky rolls aside so slowly that my sisters think it’s wind, the burlap curtain opens on a jacquard sky.