Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Poetry that Inspires: Marge Piercy

I read a lot of Marge Piercy in the fall. Even though September has come and gone, I find myself returning again and again to this poem by her.

I mean, why didn't I write these lines first:

"There is a turn in things
that makes the heart catch"

"In the perfect
moment the future coils,
a tree inside a pit."


And then there is her poem "To Have Without Holding" with a first line that made me grunt from my most basic, animal being because of it's deep, simple truth.  Autumn is the perfect season to curl up with a great book of poetry, and sigh or grunt aloud to the lines that resonate with our truest selves.

"To Have Without Holding"

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can't do it, you say it's killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
you float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor's button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.


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