Reading Time: 1 Minute 26 Seconds Poem by Muriel Rukeyser

Reading Time: 1 Minute 26 Seconds

Rating: 2.9

The fear of poetry is the
fear : mystery and fury of a midnight street
of windows whose low voluptuous voice
issues, and after that there is not peace.

The round waiting moment in the
theatre : curtain rises, dies into the ceiling
and here is played the scene with the mother
bandaging a revealed son's head. The bandage is torn off.
Curtain goes down. And here is the moment of proof.

That climax when the brain acknowledges the world,
all values extended into the blood awake.
Moment of proof. And as they say Brancusi did,
building his bird to extend through soaring air,
as Kafka planned stories that draw to eternity
through time extended. And the climax strikes.

Love touches so, that months after the look of
blue stare of love, the footbeat on the heart
is translated into the pure cry of birds
following air-cries, or poems, the new scene.
Moment of proof. That strikes long after act.

They fear it. They turn away, hand up, palm out
fending off moment of proof, the straight look, poem.
The prolonged wound-consciousness after the bullet's
The prolonged love after the look is dead,
the yellow joy after the song of the sun.

Alyssa Smith 06 January 2023

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Susan Williams 11 February 2016

This poem literally dramatizes the fear of subjectivity in ‘Reading Time: 1 minute 26 seconds’. That is why many people turn away from poetry- they fear the intensity, the subjectivity, the spotlight on our weaknesses.The stanzas in this poem are rich with the stress of the present moment, the moments of trauma and of love that extend far beyond their moment of action. The effects of these moments in time go much further than the act of reading and how long it took to read it - they become part of the continuity of history.

22 0 Reply
M Asim Nehal 09 July 2016

Awesome comment on a crafty poem.

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