“What Kind of Times Are These”

What Kind of Times Are These

There’s a place between two stands of trees where the grass grows uphill 
and the old revolutionary road breaks off into shadows 
near a meeting-house abandoned by the persecuted 
who disappeared into those shadows. 

I’ve walked there picking mushrooms at the edge of dread, but don’t be fooled 
this isn’t a Russian poem, this is not somewhere else but here, 
our country moving closer to its own truth and dread, 
its own ways of making people disappear. 

I won’t tell you where the place is, the dark mesh of the woods 
meeting the unmarked strip of light— 
ghost-ridden crossroads, leafmold paradise: 
I know already who wants to buy it, sell it, make it disappear. 

And I won’t tell you where it is, so why do I tell you 
anything? Because you still listen, because in times like these 
to have you listen at all, it’s necessary 
to talk about trees. 

“What Kind of Times Are These”. by Adrienne Rich

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