“Insults of attack arrive, insults

of mutilation. She knows the prophetic past,

many have marched behind her, and she knows

Rosa whose face drifts in the black canal,

the superstitions of a tragic winter

when children, their heads together, put on tears.

The tears fall at their throats, their chains are made

of tears, and as bullets melted and as bombs let down

upon the ominous cities where she stands

fluid and conscious. Suddenly perceives

the world will never daily prove her words,

but her words live, they issue from this life.

She scatters clews. She speaks from all these faces

and from the center of a system of lives

who speak the desire of worlds moving unmade

saying, “Who owns the world?” and waiting for the cry.”



By Muriel Rukeyser


(from  A Turning Wind (1939): Lives)


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