Thursday August 21st, 2014, 11:57 pm (EDT)

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Director’s Notes

You don’t want a harsh outcry here
not to violate the beauty yet
dawn unveiling ochre village
but to show coercion
within that beauty, endurance required
Begin with girl
pulling hand over hand on chain
only sound drag and creak
in time it becomes monotonous

then must begin sense of unease produced by monotony
repetitive motion, repetitive sound
resistance, irritation
increasing for the viewers
sense of what they are here for anyway
dislike of the whole thing how boring to watch
(they aren’t used to duration
this was a test)

Keep that dislike that boredom as a value
also as risk
so when bucket finally tinks at rim
they breathe a sigh, not so much of relief
as finally grasping
what all this is for

dissolve as she dips from bucket 

Adrienne Rich is the author of more than sixteen volumes of poetry and four nonfiction prose books. She is the recipient of numerous awards and prizes, including a MacArthur Fellowship and the 1999 Lannan Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.
This poem appears in her forthcoming book, Telephone Ringing in the Labyrinth: Poems: 2004–2006, published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright © 2007 by Adrienne Rich.