There are only two reasons why I write poetry: to suppress and to release. When I read Muriel Rukeyser’s poem taken from her collection The Gates, I told myself, I could have written these lines, or someone could have written these lines for me. The poem’s message reverberates to me like voices of the thousand binukots in Tarangban.
Waiting to leave all day I hear the words:
That poet in prison, the poet newly-died
whose words we wear, reading, all of us. I and my son.
All day we read the words:
friends, lovers, daughters, grandson,
and all night the distant loves
and I who had never seen him am drawn to him
Through acts, through poems;
through our closeness—
whatever links us in our variousness;
across worlds, love and poems and justices
wishing to be born.
Reading the poem, I suddenly remember the possibility of the memetic power of poetry which can actually bridge strangers across distance, beyond time, despite diversities. Honestly I took the poem as a “love poem” on first impression, where the persona ruminates on her love for this poet, an imaginary being, who, “through acts, through poems” can create connection between her and the addressee. I know this is a lame reading, but that was my immediate interpretation.