Adrienne Rich

Twenty-One Love Poems VI

Poem by Adrienne Rich

VI
Your small hands, precisely equal to my own-
only the thumb is larger, longer-in these hands
I could trust the world, or in many hands like these,
handling power-tools or steering-wheel
or touching a human face… Such hands could turn
the unborn child rightways in the birth canal
or pilot the exploratory rescue-ship
through icebergs, or piece together
the fine, needle-like sherds of a great krater-cup
bearing on its sides
figures of ecstatic women striding
to the sibyl's den or the Eleusinian cave-
such hands might carry out an unavoidable violence
with such restraint, with such a grasp
of the range and limits of violence
that violence ever after would be obsolete.