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January 30, 1994

"Long enough. Long enough,"

I heard a woman say--

I am that woman who too long

Under the web lay.

Long enough in the empire

Of his darkened eyes

Bewildered in the greying silver

Light of his fantasies.

I have been lying here too long,

From shadow-begin to shadow-began

Where stretches over me the subtle

Rule of the Floating Man.

A young man and an old-young woman

My dive in the river between

And rise, the children of another country;

That riverbank, that green.

Is the journey through the ice

And too secret are the entrances

To my stretched hidingplace.

Walk out of the pudorweb

And into a lifetime

Said the woman; and I sleeper began to wake

And to say my own name.

From "A Muriel Rukeyser Reader" edited by Jan Heller Levi, with an introduction by Adrienne Rich. (Norton: $25; 322 pp.) 1994 Reprinted by permission.

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