Muriel Rukeyser was a lifelong social activist, fully committed to the struggle against inequity and oppression and for social justice. Her writing is insistently entangled with the political issues of her time. She is certainly one of the most underappreciated major American poets of the 20th century, and her radical politics certainly figure in that unfortunate neglect.
Reading Time: 1 Minute, 26 Seconds
The fear of poetry is the
 fear : mystery and fury of a midnight street
 of windows whose low voluptuous voice
 issues, and after that there is not peace.
 The round waiting moment in the 
 theatre : curtain rises, dies into the ceiling
 and here is played the scene with the mother
 bandaging a revealed son’s head. The bandage is torn off.
 Curtain goes down. And here is the moment of proof.
 That climax when the brain acknowledges the world,
 all values extended into the blood awake.
 Moment of proof. And as they say Brancusi did,
 building his bird to extend through soaring air,
 as Kafka planned stories that draw to eternity
 through time extended. And the climax strikes.
 Love touches so, that months after the look of
 blue stare of love, the footbeat on the heart
 is translated into the pure cry of birds
 following air-cries, or poems, the new scene.
 Moment of proof. That strikes long after act.
 They fear it. They turn away, hand up, palm out
 fending off moment of proof, the straight look, poem.
 The prolonged wound-consciousness after the bullet’s shot.
 The prolonged love after the look is dead,
 the yellow joy after the song of the sun.