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Best Famous Erica Jong Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Erica Jong poems. This is a select list of the best famous Erica Jong poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Erica Jong poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Erica Jong poems.

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Written by Erica Jong |

LoveSpell: Against Endings

 All the endings in my life
rise up against me
like that sea of troubles
Shakespeare mixed
with metaphors;
like Vikings in their boats
singing Wagner,
like witches
burning at
the stake--
I submit
to my fate.
I know beginnings, their sweetnesses, and endings, their bitternesses-- but I do not know continuance-- I do not know the sweet demi-boredom of life as it lingers, of man and wife regarding each other across a table of shared witnesses, of the hand-in-hand dreams of those who have slept a half-century together in a bed so used and familiar it is rutted with love.
I would know that before this life closes, a soulmate to share my roses-- I would make a spell with long grey beard hairs and powdered rosemary and rue, with the jacket of a tux for a tall man with broad shoulders, who loves to dance; with one blue contact lens for his bluest eyes; with honey in a jar for his love of me; with salt in a dish for his love of sex and skin; with crushed rose petals for our bed; with tubes of cerulean blue and vermilion and rose madder for his artist's eye; with a dented Land-Rover fender for his love of travel; with a poem by Blake for his love of innocence revealed by experience; with soft rain and a bare head; with hand-in-hand dreams on Mondays and the land of fuck on Sundays; with mangoes, papayas and limes, and a house towering above the sea.
Muse, I surrender to thee.
Thy will be done, not mine.
If this love spell pleases you, send me this lover, this husband, this dancing partner for my empty bed and let him fill me from now until I die.
I offer my bones, my poems, my luck with roses, and the secret garden I have found walled in my center, and the sunflower who raises her head despite her heavy seeds.
I am ready now, Muse, to serve you faithfully even with a graceful dancing partner-- for I have learned to stand alone.
Give me your blessing.
Let the next epithalamion I write be my own.
And let it last more than the years of my life-- and without the least strain-- two lovers bareheaded in a summer rain.

Written by Erica Jong |

The Poem Cat

 Sometimes the poem
doesn't want to come;
it hides from the poet
like a playful cat
who has run
under the house
& lurks among slugs,
roots, spiders' eyes,
ledge so long out of the sun
that it is dank
with the breath of the Troll King.
Sometimes the poem darts away like a coy lover who is afraid of being possessed, of feeling too much, of losing his essential loneliness-which he calls freedom.
Sometimes the poem can't requite the poet's passion.
The poem is a dance between poet & poem, but sometimes the poem just won't dance and lurks on the sidelines tapping its feet- iambs, trochees- out of step with the music of your mariachi band.
If the poem won't come, I say: sneak up on it.
Pretend you don't care.
Sit in your chair reading Shakespeare, Neruda, immortal Emily and let yourself flow into their music.
Go to the kitchen and start peeling onions for homemade sugo.
Before you know it, the poem will be crying as your ripe tomatoes bubble away with inspiration.
When the whole house is filled with the tender tomato aroma, start kneading the pasta.
As you rock over the damp sensuous dough, making it bend to your will, as you make love to this manna of flour and water, the poem will get hungry and come just like a cat coming home when you least expect her.

Written by Erica Jong |

Smoke

 Smoke, it is all smoke
in the throat of eternity.
.
.
.
For centuries, the air was full of witches Whistling up chimneys on their spiky brooms cackling or singing more sweetly than Circe, as they flew over rooftops blessing & cursing their kind.
We banished & burned them making them smoke in the throat of god; we declared ourselves "enlightened.
" "The dark age of horrors is past," said my mother to me in 1952, seven years after our people went up in smoke, leaving a few teeth, a pile of bones.
The smoke curls and beckons.
It is blue & lavender & green as the undersea world.
It will take us, too.
O let us not go sheepishly clinging to our nakedness.
But let us go like witches sucked heavenward by the Goddess' powerful breath & whistling, whistling, whistling on our beautiful brooms.

Written by Erica Jong |

Autobiographical

 The lover in these poems
is me;
the doctor,
Love.
He appears as husband, lover analyst & muse, as father, son & maybe even God & surely death.
All this is true.
The man you turn to in the dark is many men.
This is an open secret women share & yet agree to hide as if they might then hide it from themselves.
I will not hide.
I write in the nude.
I name names.
I am I.
The doctor's name is Love.

Written by Erica Jong |

Smoke

 Can you imagine the air filled with smoke?
It was.
The city was vanishing before noon or was it earlier than that? I can't say because the light came from nowhere and went nowhere.
This was years ago, before you were born, before your parents met in a bus station downtown.
She'd come on Friday after work all the way from Toledo, and he'd dressed in his only suit.
Back then we called this a date, some times a blind date, though they'd written back and forth for weeks.
What actually took place is now lost.
It's become part of the mythology of a family, the stories told by children around the dinner table.
No, they aren't dead, they're just treated that way, as objects turned one way and then another to catch the light, the light overflowing with smoke.
Go back to the beginning, you insist.
Why is the air filled with smoke? Simple.
We had work.
Work was something that thrived on fire, that without fire couldn't catch its breath or hang on for life.
We came out into the morning air, Bernie, Stash, Williams, and I, it was late March, a new war was starting up in Asia or closer to home, one that meant to kill us, but for a moment the air held still in the gray poplars and elms undoing their branches.
I understood the moon for the very first time, why it came and went, why it wasn't there that day to greet the four of us.
Before the bus came a small black bird settled on the curb, fearless or hurt, and turned its beak up as though questioning the day.
"A baby crow," someone said.
Your father knelt down on the wet cement, his lunchbox balanced on one knee and stared quietly for a long time.
"A grackle far from home," he said.
One of the four of us mentioned tenderness, a word I wasn't used to, so it wasn't me.
The bus must have arrived.
I'm not there today.
The windows were soiled.
We swayed this way and that over the railroad tracks, across Woodward Avenue, heading west, just like the sun, hidden in smoke.

Written by Erica Jong |

Autumn Perspective

 Now, moving in, cartons on the floor,
the radio playing to bare walls,
picture hooks left stranded
in the unsoiled squares where paintings were,
and something reminding us
this is like all other moving days;
finding the dirty ends of someone else's life,
hair fallen in the sink, a peach pit,
and burned-out matches in the corner;
things not preserved, yet never swept away
like fragments of disturbing dreams
we stumble on all day.
.
.
in ordering our lives, we will discard them, scrub clean the floorboards of this our home lest refuse from the lives we did not lead become, in some strange, frightening way, our own.
And we have plans that will not tolerate our fears-- a year laid out like rooms in a new house--the dusty wine glasses rinsed off, the vases filled, and bookshelves sagging with heavy winter books.
Seeing the room always as it will be, we are content to dust and wait.
We will return here from the dark and silent streets, arms full of books and food, anxious as we always are in winter, and looking for the Good Life we have made.
I see myself then: tense, solemn, in high-heeled shoes that pinch, not basking in the light of goals fulfilled, but looking back to now and seeing a lazy, sunburned, sandaled girl in a bare room, full of promise and feeling envious.
Now we plan, postponing, pushing our lives forward into the future--as if, when the room contains us and all our treasured junk we will have filled whatever gap it is that makes us wander, discontented from ourselves.
The room will not change: a rug, or armchair, or new coat of paint won't make much difference; our eyes are fickle but we remain the same beneath our suntans, pale, frightened, dreaming ourselves backward and forward in time, dreaming our dreaming selves.
I look forward and see myself looking back.

Written by Erica Jong |

The End of the World

 Here, at the end of the world,
the flowers bleed
as if they were hearts,
the hearts ooze a darkness
like india ink,
& poets dip their pens in
& they write.
"Here, at the end of the world," they write, not knowing what it means.
"Here, where the sky nurses on black milk, where the smokestack feed the sky, where the trees tremble in terror & people come to resemble them.
.
.
.
" Here, at the end of the world, the poets are bleeding.
Writing & bleeding are thought to be the same; singing & bleeding are thought to be the same.
Write us a letter! Send us a parcel of food! Comfort us with proverbs or candied fruit, with talk of one God.
Distract us with theories of art no one can prove.
Here at the end of the world our heads are empty, & the wind walks through them like ghosts through a haunted house.

Written by Erica Jong |

For an Earth-Landing

 the sky sinks its blue teeth
into the mountains.
Rising on pure will (the lurch & lift-off, the sudden swing into wide, white snow), I encourage the cable.
Past the wind & crossed tips of my skis & the mauve shadows of pines & the spoor of bears & deer, I speak to my fear, rising, riding, finding myself the only thing between snow & sky, the link that holds it all together.
Halfway up the wire, we stop, slide back a little (a whirr of pulleys).
Astronauts circle above us today in the television blue of space.
But the thin withers of alps are waiting to take us too, & this might be the moon! We move! Friends, this is a toy merely for reaching mountains merely for skiing down.
& now we're dangling like charms on the same bracelet or upsidedown tightrope people (a colossal circus!) or absurd winged walkers, angels in animal fur, with mittened hands waving & fear turning & the mountain like a fisherman, reeling us all in.
So we land on the windy peak, touch skis to snow, are married to our purple shadows, & ski back down to the unimaginable valley leaving no footprints.

Written by Erica Jong |

Climbing You

 I want to understand the steep thing
that climbs ladders in your throat.
I can't make sense of you.
Everywhere I look you're there-- a vast landmark, a volcano poking its head through the clouds, Gulliver sprawled across Lilliput.
I climb into your eyes, looking.
The pupils are black painted stage flats.
They can be pulled down like window shades.
I switch on a light in your iris.
Your brain ticks like a bomb.
In your offhand, mocking way you've invited me into your chest.
Inside: the blur that poses as your heart.
I'm supposed to go in with a torch or maybe hot water bottles & defrost it by hand as one defrosts an old refrigerator.
It will shudder & sigh (the icebox to the insomniac).
Oh there's nothing like love between us.
You're the mountain, I am climbing you.
If I fall, you won't be all to blame, but you'll wait years maybe for the next doomed expedition.

Written by Erica Jong |

After the Earthquake

 After the first astounding rush,
after the weeks at the lake,
the crystal, the clouds, the water lapping the rocks,
the snow breaking under our boots like skin,
& the long mornings in bed.
.
.
After the tangos in the kitchen, & our eyes fixed on each other at dinner, as if we would eat with our lids, as if we would swallow each other.
.
.
I find you still here beside me in bed, (while my pen scratches the pad & your skin glows as you read) & my whole life so mellowed & changed that at times I cannot remember the crimp in my heart that brought me to you, the pain of a marriage like an old ache, a husband like an arthritic knuckle.
Here, living with you, love is still the only subject that matters.
I open to you like a flowering wound, or a trough in the sea filled with dreaming fish, or a steaming chasm of earth split by a major quake.
You changed the topography.
Where valleys were, there are now mountains.
Where deserts were, there now are seas.
We rub each other, but we do not wear away.
The sand gets finer & our skins turn silk.

Written by Erica Jong |

The Poet Fears Failure

 The poet fears failure
& so she says
"Hold on pen--
what if the critics
hate me?"
& with that question
she blots out more lines
than any critic could.
The critic is only doing his job: keeping the poet lonely.
He barks like a dog at the door when the master comes home.
It's in his doggy nature.
If he didn't know the poet for the boss, he wouldn't bark so loud.
& the poet? It's in her nature to fear failure but not to let that fear blot out her lines.

Written by Erica Jong |

People Who Live

 People who live by the sea
understand eternity.
They copy the curves of the waves, their hearts beat with the tides, & the saltiness of their blood corresponds with the sea.
They know that the house of flesh is only a sandcastle built on the shore, that skin breaks under the waves like sand under the soles of the first walker on the beach when the tide recedes.
Each of us walks there once, watching the bubbles rise up through the sand like ascending souls, tracing the line of the foam, drawing our index fingers along the horizon pointing home.

Written by Erica Jong |

Flying at Forty

 You call me
courageous, 
I who grew up
gnawing on books,
as some kids
gnaw
on bubble gum,

who married disastrously
not once
but three times,
yet have a lovely daughter
I would not undo
for all the dope
in California.
Fear was my element, fear my contagion.
I swam in it till I became immune.
The plane takes off & I laugh aloud.
Call me courageous.
I am still alive.

Written by Erica Jong |

Henry James in the Heart of the City

 We have a small sculpture of Henry James on our terrace in New York City.
Nothing would surprise him.
The beast in the jungle was what he saw-- Edith Wharton's obfuscating older brother.
.
.
He fled the demons of Manhattan for fear they would devour his inner ones (the ones who wrote the books) & silence the stifled screams of his protagonists.
To Europe like a wandering Jew-- WASP that he was-- but with the Jew's outsider's hunger.
.
.
face pressed up to the glass of sex refusing every passion but the passion to write the words grew more & more complex & convoluted until they utterly imprisoned him in their fairytale brambles.
Language for me is meant to be a transparency, clear water gleaming under a covered bridge.
.
.
I love his spiritual sister because she snatched clarity from her murky history.
Tormented New Yorkers both, but she journeyed to the heart of light-- did he? She took her friends on one last voyage, through the isles of Greece on a yacht chartered with her royalties-- a rich girl proud to be making her own money.
The light of the Middle Sea was what she sought.
All denizens of this demonic city caught between pitch and black long for the light.
But she found it in a few of her books.
.
.
while Henry James discovered what he had probably started with: that beast, that jungle, that solipsistic scream.
He did not join her on that final cruise.
(He was on his own final cruise).
Did he want to? I would wager yes.
I look back with love and sorrow at them both-- dear teachers-- but she shines like Miss Liberty to Emma Lazarus' hordes, while he gazes within, always, at his own impenetrable jungle.

Written by Erica Jong |

Sunday Afternoons

 I sit at home
at my desk alone
as I used to do
on many sunday afternoons
when you came back to me,
your arms ached for me,
and your arms would close me in
though they smelled of other women.
I think of you on Sunday afternoons.
Your sweet head would bow, like a child somehow, down to me - and your hair and your eyes were wild.
We would embrace on the floor- You see my back´s still sore.
You knew how easily I bruised, It´s a soreness I would never lose.
I think of you on Sunday afternoons.