from elisha717 - Friday, May 16, 2008
accessed 711 times
I read this poem and was intrigued by its symbolic meaning to life.
Rich starts the poem by talking about the "book of mythes" and how most people start out in a relationship ("life") with a certain idea of how life should be.
In my interpetation, she comes to the point in her life where she stands back from her immediate situations and decides to start looking at things from an observer perspective, and from a realistic point of view.
So she dives down deep into the ocean to get a good look at the damage that was done, and no matter how hard this is for her, she has to do this alone, and she has to go the full circle.
She brings her camera, (which represents her memories, and even though some are bad, she is using them to help her learn from them).She sees the "drowning faces who sleep with their eyes open," and who "bear the stress on their breasts." She notices other people who are down there circling the wreck, and realises that like her, they are also trying to move on with their lives.
When she finally feels she is ready to go back up, she no longer has her name in the "book of mythes" (because she now has a more realistic view on life and love), and she can finally clear her camera, so that she can start creating "new memories"; moreover, her knife (which before she used as a weapon) is now a tool used to help her in life.
So to sum it all up, (in my opinion of course), she no longer has an unrealistic view on life or her failed relationships. She now is ready to try again as a stronger and a more independent person.
Since this is me in a nut shell I shall say no more!! (Thank's for listening to my point of view! Any other interpretations are welcomed by me!)
Diving into the Wreck
First having read the book of myths, and loaded the camera, and checked the edge of the knife-blade, I put on the body-armor of black rubberthe absurd flippersthe grave and awkward mask. I am having to do this not like Cousteau with hisassiduous teamaboard the sun-flooded schooner but here alone.
There is a ladder.The ladder is always there hanging innocently close to the side of the schooner.We know what it is for, we who have used it. Other wise it is a piece of maritime floss some sundry equipment. I go down. Rung after rung and still the oxygen immerses me the blue light the clear atomsphere of our human air. I go down.
My flippers cripple me, I crawl like an insect down the ladder and there is no one to tell me when the ocean will begin. First the air is blue and then it is bluer and then green and then black I am blacking out and yet my mask is powerful it pumps my blood with power the sea is another story the sea is not a question of power I have to learn alone to turn my body without force in the deep element.
And now: it is easy to forget what I came for among so many who have always lived here swaying their crenellated fans between the reefsand besides you breathe differently down here. I came to explore the wreck.The words are purposes.The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done and the treasures that prevail. I stroke the beam of my lamp slowly along the flank of something more permanent than fish or weed the thing I came for: the wreck and not the story of the wreck the thing itself and not the myth the drowned face always staring toward the sun the evidence of damage worn by salt and away into this thread bare beauty the ribs of the disaster curving their assertion among the tentative haunters. This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair streams black, the merman in his armored body. We circle silently about the wreck we dive into the hold. I am she: I am he whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes whose breasts still bear the stress whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies obscurely inside barrel shalf-wedged and left to rot we are the half-destroyed instruments that once held to a course the water-eaten log the fouled compass
We are, I am, you are by cowardice or courage the one who find our way back to this scene carrying a knife, a camera a book of myths in which our names do not appear.
From Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972 by Adrienne Rich. Copyright © 1973 by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Reprinted by permission of the author and W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright 1973 by Adrienne Rich.