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By Means Of Power

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Poetry & Poets

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Both Adrienne Rich and Audre Lorde, in their respective poems entitled Power, convey the idea that ones identity and sense of worth is defined by what they are willing to give up. This message is energized by the emotion the authors evoke through their ability to communicate a sense of experience. It is this experience as mothers and highly intelligent feminists that allow us to feel the unconditional caring towards humanity they are encouraging in their poems.
In the opening lines of Lordes Power, "The difference between poetry and rhetoric/is being/ready to kill/yourself/instead of your children"(1-5), she immediately stresses the importance of putting your child before yourself. This is a metaphor for putting the needs of what is truly important before the needs of oneself. It is not only stated simply and bluntly, but the way the lines are broken up accent the idea. "Ready to kill"(3) is on its own line, while "yourself"(4) is on the next. This is the theme that is running throughout the entire poem.
In the next section of Lordes poem she describes a dreamlike situation. This is where her son has been shot, probably in the face. Although "blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders/is the only liquid for miles"(9-10), "my mouth splits into dry lips"(12). With the death of her boy she is willing to sacrifice her own need of any quenching of her lips. She is "thirsting for the wetness of his blood"(14) but it is more important to resist the temptation, "trying to make power out of hatred and destruction"(18).
The power displayed in the third section of Lordes Power is that of hatred. A policeman has "shot down a 10-year-old in Queens"(21). This he justifies by saying "I didn't notice the size or nothing else/only the color"(26-27). This officer has taken the power entrusted into him by the citizens and used it for his own good. Or not even his own good but what he might consider beneficial to his people. This directly opposes what Lorde was saying at the beginning of the poem. He is not ready to kill himself instead of his children. And although he has actually killed a boy here that is not the only thing he has killed. He killed the idea of allowing someone else to have interests above what he might agree with.
That same officer was acquitted for ...

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Keywords: power meaning, mean by power of attorney, balance of power meaning, what does it mean to be powered by, power by or powered by

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