Can someone please explain "Amends" by Adrienne Rich?"Amends" By Adrienne Rich Nights like this: on the cold apple-bougha white star, then anotherexlploding out of the bark:on the ground, moonlight...

Can someone please explain "Amends" by Adrienne Rich?

"Amends" By Adrienne Rich


Nights like this: on the cold apple-bough
a white star, then another
exlploding out of the bark:
on the ground, moonlight picking at small stones

as it picks at greater stones as it rises with the surf
laying its cheek for moments on the sand
as it licks the broken ledge, as it flows up the cliffs,
as it flicks across the tracks

as it unavailing pours into gash
of the sand-and-gravel quarry
as it leans across the hangared fuselage
of the crop dusting plane

as it soaks through cracks into trailers
tremulous with sleep
as it dwells upon the eyelids of sleepers
as if to make amends.

Asked on by ryounis

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This excellent poem concerns the link between moonlight and humans. We are persented with moonlight personified in various ways, some of them quite sensuous, as it lights up various aspects of the landscape and finally "dwells upon the eyelids of sleepers." Note how moonlight is personfied as it "licks the broken ledge" and "laying its cheek for moments on the sand." The moonlight is presented as unyielding and able to penetrate and reach everywhere. Note how the poem describes it as "unavailing" and it has the ability to "soak" through cracks. Moonlight is personified as a graceful and empathising female figure that seems to bring healing or relaxation to humans for the sufferings and harships they experience during day time. Moonlight wants to "make amends," and as we follow its journeying over the landscape to its ultimate destination of the humans that it finds, we are struck with the idea of the moon being personified as some form of benevolent goddess who wants to make up at night for the harships of the day.

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