Saturday, January 29, 2011

another touchstone

Marge Piercy has been a favorite writer of mine for decades, particulary for her poetry, though I have enjoyed her novels as well, but there are gems in her poetry that shine like navigable starmaps in my mind, that keep me on course...

here is a fragment from  the longer poem "Living in the open":

No more lovers, no more husbands,
no masters or mistresses, contracts, no affairs,
only friends.
No more trade-ins or betrayals,
only the slow accretion of community,
hand on hand.

Help me to be clear and useful.
Help me to help you.
You are not my insurance, not my vacation,
not my romance, not my job, not my garden.
You wear your own flags and colors and your own names.
I will never have you.
I am a friend who loves you.

and another favorite: "A new constellation"

We go intertwined, him and you
and me, her and him, you and her,
each the center of our own circle
of attraction and compulsion and gravity
What a constellation we make: I call it
the Matrix. I call it the dancing
family. I call it wheels inside wheels.
Ezekiel did not know he was seeing
the pattern for enduring relationship
in the late twentieth century.

All the rings shine gold as wedding bands
but they are the hoops magicians use
that seem solid and unbroken, yet can slip
into chains of other rings and out.
They are strong enough to hang houses on,
strong enough to serve as cranes, yet
they are open. We fall through each other,
we catch each other, we cling, we flip on.

No one is at the center, but each
is her own center, no one controls
the jangling swing and bounce and merry-
go-round lurching intertangle of this mobile.
We pass through each other trembling
and we pass through each other shrieking
and we pass through each other shimmering.
the circle is neither unbroken
nor broken but living, a molecule attracting
atoms that wants to be a protein,
complex, mortal, able to sustain life,
able to reproduce itself inexactly,
learn and grow.

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