By Adrienne Rich
Ailanthus, goldenrod, scrapiron, what makes you flower?
What burns in the dump today?
Thick flames in a grey field, tended
By two men: one derelict ghost,
One clearly apter at nursing destruction,
Two priests in a grey field, tending the flames
Of stripped-off rockwool, split
Mattresses, a caved-in chickenhouse,
Mad Loyâ€™s last stack of paintings, each a perfect black lozenge
Seen from a train, stopped
As by design, to bring us
Face to face with the flag of our true country:
Its heart sucked by slow fire
O my America
This then your desire?
by Adrienne Rich, 1964
From Collected Early Poems 1950-1970 (W.W. Norton)
Reproduced from the Jewish Culture News