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Amends Summary & Analysis
by Adrienne Rich

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“Amends” was written by the American poet Adrienne Rich. The poem describes a nighttime scene in which the moonlight glides across a landscape. It begins by gently moving over an uninhabited natural setting marked by pebbles, water, cliffs, and sand, before moving past evidence of industrial society—train tracks, a deep quarry, and a crop-dusting plane. Eventually the moonlight reaches people asleep in their trailers, seemingly unaware of the moon’s beauty and presence. Through the subtle development of its imagery, the poem explores the rift between modern society and the natural world, while also implying that human existence is far more fragile than people might think. “Amends” was first published in Rich’s collection Dark Fields of the Republic: Poems 1991-1995.

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