Friday, December 16, 2022

"Tongue your own lips": Repeating a gesture from Adrienne Rich's "From Sickbed Shores" (2008)

When a gesture is described in a novel, story, or poem, I often find myself repeating that gesture – sometimes consciously, sometimes completely unconsciously. In her 2008 poem "From Sickbed Shores" (from "Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010"), Adrienne Rich recalls a phone conversation she had from the sickbed mentioned in the title: "Did you then holding / the phone tongue your own lips." Reading the lines this afternoon, I briefly touched my tongue to my upper lip and then wondered if that was the gesture she was referring to. Later, I remembered that moment while driving back from my daughter Sara's riding lesson and briefly "tongued my own lip" again. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 16 December 2022)

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