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Amends Adrienne Rich (born in Baltimore in 1929) once wrote: 'Poetry is, among other things, a criticism of language.

In setting words together in new configurations, in the mere, immense shift from male to female pronouns, in the relationship between words created through echo, repetition, rhythm, rhyme, it lets us hear our words in a new dimension.' These observations might be used to inform a study, not only of this poem but most of the others in the collection. In the poem Amends Adrienne Rich has personified the moonlight and has focused on various facets of the moonlight from stanza to stanza. In the opening stanza the moonlight falls on to a cold apple bough touching the tree with magic. Brushed with the moonlight, first one flower then another appears to turn into a shining white star, until the entire bark explodes in a celebration of joy and wonder. Having touched the tree with its celestial enchantment the moonlight moves downwards picking at small stones on the ground. In the second stanza the moonlight is shown to be playing by the sea. She moves from the small stones to bigger stones, and then joyously rises with the surf. As the wave breaks, she lays her cheek briefly on the sand, clearly evoking a sense of touch. She enjoys tasting the rocks as she licks the broken ledge before flowing up the cliffs and flicking across the tracks. In this stanza the moon appears playful and carefree as she moves swiftly, capriciously, briefly resting on various parts of the seascape. She is pictured as a sensuous girl as the verbs used to describe the moonlight clearly appeal to the senses. The moonlight is portrayed in a more serious hue in the following stanza, where she leaves the natural world and for the first time shines on the world of man. She unavailingly pours into the gash of a sand and gravel quarry. The word gash strongly draws attention to the wounds man inflicts on the earth with his reckless quarrying. Though the moon pours herself into the gash she fails to beautify or heal the man made wound on the earths surface. Perhaps this futile attempt tires her, for she leans across the fuselage of a crop dusting plane. Does the moonlight understand that the insecticide sprayed by the plane will spoil the atmosphere, just as the quarry has injured the earth? In the final stanza the moon soaks through the cracks in the trailers bathing the mobile homes with her light. She appears to have reached her destination as she dwells on the eyelids of the sleepers. The moonlight is here pictured as a care giver as she tries to soothe the inmates of these trailers that are tremulous with sleep. In the last line of the poem, Rich refers to the title of the poem for the first time: as if to make amends. How does the moonlight make amends? Perhaps she is apologizing for

disturbing the sleep of the tired men by shining on their eyelids. Man deserves to rest undisturbed after an exhausting day at work. Or maybe she is expressing her sympathy for the sleepers who have to toil so hard during the hours of daylight. On the other hand Rich may be portaying the moonlight as a mediator between man and nature who is trying to make amends by making man realize that his wanton, unthinking acts are harming the natural world. Structure: Four unrhymed stanzas without a regular rhythm. The irregular structure could be highlighting the seemingly random, unplanned movements of the moon as it moves from one object to another. The opening phrase Nights like this: suggests that the poem was penned as a list noting the various activities of the moon. The repetition of as it reinforces the idea that the poem lists the things that the moon chooses to shine on at each successive moment. In the very last line of the poem, Rich changes the as it to as if. The as it lines faithfully chart the progress of the moon. In the last line with the word if the poet tries to guess the motives and desires of her own creation.the beautiful, soothing, sensual, sometimes playful, sometimes celestial, sometimes serious woman, the moonlight.