The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.

Circum/Stances -- Adrienne Rich

In honor of the life and death of Adrienne Rich -- a great poet, whom I have come to love more dearly in the last year or so -- I'd like to share with you my favorite poem of hers, at this juncture. She wrote it in 2008, which is kind of amazing, as she was 78 years old. She's unlike any other poet I've known.


A crime of nostalgia
--is it--to say

the objective conditions
seemed a favoring wind

and we younger then
                                                            --objective fact--

also a kind of subjectivity

Sails unwrapped to the breeze
no chart


Slowly repetitiously to prise
up the leaden lid where the forensic
evidence was sealed

cross-section of a slave ship
diagram of a humiliated
mind    high resolution image
of a shredded lung

color slides of refugee camps

                                                          (in some calm room far from pain)
bedsprings    a trunk empty
but for a scorched
                                                                    length of electrical cord

how these got here from where
what would have beheld

Migrant assemblage:    in its aura
immense details writhe, uprise


To imagine what    Become
present then

within the monster
nerveless and giggling

(our familiar    our kin)
who did the scutwork

To differentiate
the common hell
the coils inside the brain


Scratchy cassette ribbon
history's lamentation song:

Gone, friend I tore at
time after time
in anger

gone, love I could
time upon time
nor live nor leave

gone, city
of spies and squatters
tongues and genitals

All violence is not equal

(I write this with a clawed hand)

"Paper Aeroplane," Angus & Julia Stone

How then can we ever argue?