The pact that we made was the ordinary pact
of men & women in those days

I don’t know who we thought we were
that our personalities
could resist the failures of the race

Lucky or unlucky, we didn’t know
the race had failures of that order
and that we were going to share them

Like everybody else, we thought of ourselves as special

Your body is as vivid to me
as it ever was: even more

since my feeling for it is clearer:
I know what it could and could not do

it is no longer
the body of a god
or anything with power over my life

Next year it would have been 20 years
and you are wastefully dead
who might have made the leap
we talked, too late, of making

which I live now
not as a leap
but a succession of brief, amazing movements

each one making possible the next

Analysis, meaning and summary of Adrienne Rich's poem From a Survivor


  1. M says:

    Prose version of From a Survivor
    By Adrienne Rich

    The agreement we forged was the usual contract of male and female humans in past times. I ignore the conception we had of our existence: that our collection of emotional and behavioral traits could fight against the deficiencies of humankind. Fortunate or misfortunate, we didn’t recognize that humankind had deficiencies of that sort, and that we were going to share them. Parallel to every other person, we considered us as unique. Your physical whole is as lucid to me as it always was: quite greater because my sensation towards it is defined: I cognize what it may possibly make, it is no longer the physical whole of a divine being or something that possesses authority over my existence. The following time in which the planet completes a revolution around the sun it would have been 20 years and you are inefficiently lifeless. Who may have executed the jump we discussed, after the proper time, of enacting, which I dwell presently not as a jump, but as a progression of concise, marvelous motions, each one forging the following.

  2. K says:

    Stark, mournful….clear. Beautifully executed, simple and concise.

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