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Best Famous Marge Piercy Poems

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

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Written by Marge Piercy |

The Cats Song

 Mine, says the cat, putting out his paw of darkness.
My lover, my friend, my slave, my toy, says the cat making on your chest his gesture of drawing milk from his mother's forgotten breasts.
Let us walk in the woods, says the cat.
I'll teach you to read the tabloid of scents, to fade into shadow, wait like a trap, to hunt.
Now I lay this plump warm mouse on your mat.
You feed me, I try to feed you, we are friends, says the cat, although I am more equal than you.
Can you leap twenty times the height of your body? Can you run up and down trees? Jump between roofs? Let us rub our bodies together and talk of touch.
My emotions are pure as salt crystals and as hard.
My lusts glow like my eyes.
I sing to you in the mornings walking round and round your bed and into your face.
Come I will teach you to dance as naturally as falling asleep and waking and stretching long, long.
I speak greed with my paws and fear with my whiskers.
Envy lashes my tail.
Love speaks me entire, a word of fur.
I will teach you to be still as an egg and to slip like the ghost of wind through the grass.

Written by Marge Piercy |

Colors Passing Through Us

 Purple as tulips in May, mauve 
into lush velvet, purple 
as the stain blackberries leave 
on the lips, on the hands, 
the purple of ripe grapes 
sunlit and warm as flesh.
Every day I will give you a color, like a new flower in a bud vase on your desk.
Every day I will paint you, as women color each other with henna on hands and on feet.
Red as henna, as cinnamon, as coals after the fire is banked, the cardinal in the feeder, the roses tumbling on the arbor their weight bending the wood the red of the syrup I make from petals.
Orange as the perfumed fruit hanging their globes on the glossy tree, orange as pumpkins in the field, orange as butterflyweed and the monarchs who come to eat it, orange as my cat running lithe through the high grass.
Yellow as a goat's wise and wicked eyes, yellow as a hill of daffodils, yellow as dandelions by the highway, yellow as butter and egg yolks, yellow as a school bus stopping you, yellow as a slicker in a downpour.
Here is my bouquet, here is a sing song of all the things you make me think of, here is oblique praise for the height and depth of you and the width too.
Here is my box of new crayons at your feet.
Green as mint jelly, green as a frog on a lily pad twanging, the green of cos lettuce upright about to bolt into opulent towers, green as Grand Chartreuse in a clear glass, green as wine bottles.
Blue as cornflowers, delphiniums, bachelors' buttons.
Blue as Roquefort, blue as Saga.
Blue as still water.
Blue as the eyes of a Siamese cat.
Blue as shadows on new snow, as a spring azure sipping from a puddle on the blacktop.
Cobalt as the midnight sky when day has gone without a trace and we lie in each other's arms eyes shut and fingers open and all the colors of the world pass through our bodies like strings of fire.

Written by Marge Piercy |

Belly Good

 A heap of wheat, says the Song of Songs 
but I've never seen wheat in a pile.
Apples, potatoes, cabbages, carrots make lumpy stacks, but you are sleek as a seal hauled out in the winter sun.
I can see you as a great goose egg or a single juicy and fully ripe peach.
You swell like a natural grassy hill.
You are symmetrical as a Hopewell mound, with the eye of the navel wide open, the eye of my apple, the pear's port window.
You're not supposed to exist at all this decade.
You're to be flat as a kitchen table, so children with roller skates can speed over you like those sidewalks of my childhood that each gave a different roar under my wheels.
You're required to show muscle striations like the ocean sand at ebb tide, but brick hard.
Clothing is not designed for women of whose warm and flagrant bodies you are a swelling part.
Yet I confess I meditate with my hands folded on you, a maternal cushion radiating comfort.
Even when I have been at my thinnest, you have never abandoned me but curled round as a sleeping cat under my skirt.
When I spread out, so do you.
You like to eat, drink and bang on another belly.
In anxiety I clutch you with nervous fingers as if you were a purse full of calm.
In my grandmother standing in the fierce sun I see your cauldron that held eleven children shaped under the tent of her summer dress.
I see you in my mother at thirty in her flapper gear, skinny legs and then you knocking on the tight dress.
We hand you down like a prize feather quilt.
You are our female shame and sunburst strength.

More great poems below...

Written by Marge Piercy |

To the Pay Toilet

 You strop my anger, especially
when I find you in restaurant or bar
and pay for the same liquid, coming and going.
In bus depots and airports and turnpike plazas some woman is dragging in with three kids hung off her shrieking their simple urgency like gulls.
She's supposed to pay for each of them and the privilege of not dirtying the corporate floor.
Sometimes a woman in a uniform's on duty black or whatever the prevailing bottom is getting thirty cents an hour to make sure no woman sneaks her full bladder under a door.
Most blatantly you shout that waste of resources for the greatest good of the smallest number where twenty pay toilets line up glinty clean and at the end of the row one free toilet oozes from under its crooked door, while a row of weary women carrying packages and babies wait and wait and wait to do what only the dead find unnecessary.

Written by Marge Piercy |

What Are Big Girls Made Of?

 The construction of a woman:
a woman is not made of flesh 
of bone and sinew 
belly and breasts, elbows and liver and toe.
She is manufactured like a sports sedan.
She is retooled, refitted and redesigned every decade.
Cecile had been seduction itself in college.
She wriggled through bars like a satin eel, her hips and ass promising, her mouth pursed in the dark red lipstick of desire.
She visited in '68 still wearing skirts tight to the knees, dark red lipstick, while I danced through Manhattan in mini skirt, lipstick pale as apricot milk, hair loose as a horse's mane.
Oh dear, I thought in my superiority of the moment, whatever has happened to poor Cecile? She was out of fashion, out of the game, disqualified, disdained, dis- membered from the club of desire.
Look at pictures in French fashion magazines of the 18th century: century of the ultimate lady fantasy wrought of silk and corseting.
Paniers bring her hips out three feet each way, while the waist is pinched and the belly flattened under wood.
The breasts are stuffed up and out offered like apples in a bowl.
The tiny foot is encased in a slipper never meant for walking.
On top is a grandiose headache: hair like a museum piece, daily ornamented with ribbons, vases, grottoes, mountains, frigates in full sail, balloons, baboons, the fancy of a hairdresser turned loose.
The hats were rococo wedding cakes that would dim the Las Vegas strip.
Here is a woman forced into shape rigid exoskeleton torturing flesh: a woman made of pain.
How superior we are now: see the modern woman thin as a blade of scissors.
She runs on a treadmill every morning, fits herself into machines of weights and pulleys to heave and grunt, an image in her mind she can never approximate, a body of rosy glass that never wrinkles, never grows, never fades.
She sits at the table closing her eyes to food hungry, always hungry: a woman made of pain.
A cat or dog approaches another, they sniff noses.
They sniff asses.
They bristle or lick.
They fall in love as often as we do, as passionately.
But they fall in love or lust with furry flesh, not hoop skirts or push up bras rib removal or liposuction.
It is not for male or female dogs that poodles are clipped to topiary hedges.
If only we could like each other raw.
If only we could love ourselves like healthy babies burbling in our arms.
If only we were not programmed and reprogrammed to need what is sold us.
Why should we want to live inside ads? Why should we want to scourge our softness to straight lines like a Mondrian painting? Why should we punish each other with scorn as if to have a large ass were worse than being greedy or mean? When will women not be compelled to view their bodies as science projects, gardens to be weeded, dogs to be trained? When will a woman cease to be made of pain?

Written by Marge Piercy |

The Morning Half-Life Blues

 Girls buck the wind in the grooves toward work
in fuzzy coats promised to be warm as fur.
The shop windows snicker flashing them hurrying over dresses they cannot afford: you are not pretty enough, not pretty enough.
Blown with yesterday’s papers through the boiled coffee morning we dream of the stop on the subway without a name, the door in the heart of the grove of skyscrapers, that garden where we nestle to the teats of a furry world, lie in mounds of peony eating grapes, and need barter ourselves for nothing.
not by the hour, not by the pound, not by the skinful, that party to which no one will give or sell us the key though we have all thought briefly we found it drunk or in bed.
Black girls with thin legs and high necks stalking like herons, plump girls with blue legs and green eyelids and strawberry breasts, swept off to be frozen in fluorescent cubes, the vacuum of your jobs sucks your brains dry and fills you with the ooze of melted comics.
Living is later.
This is your rented death.
You grasp at hard commodities and vague lusts to make up, to pay for each day which opens like a can and is empty, and then another, afternoons like dinosaur eggs stuffed with glue.
Girls of the dirty morning, ticketed and spent, you will be less at forty than at twenty.
Your living is a waste product of somebody’s mill.
I would fix you like buds to a city where people work to make and do things necessary and good, where work is real as bread and babies and trees in parks where we would all blossom slowly and ripen to sound fruit.

Written by Marge Piercy |

Visiting a Dead Man on a Summer Day

 In flat America, in Chicago, 
Graceland cemetery on the German North Side.
Forty feet of Corinthian candle celebrate Pullman embedded lonely raisin in a cake of concrete.
The Potter Palmers float in an island parthenon.
Barons of hogfat, railroads and wheat are postmarked with angels and lambs.
But the Getty tomb: white, snow patterned in a triangle of trees swims dappled with leaf shadow, sketched light arch within arch delicate as fingernail moons.
The green doors should not be locked.
Doors of fern and flower should not be shut.
Louis Sullivan, I sit on your grave.
It is not now good weather for prophets.
Sun eddies on the steelsmoke air like sinking honey.
On the inner green door of the Getty tomb (a thighbone's throw from your stone) a marvel of growing, blooming, thrusting into seed: how all living wreathe and insinuate in the circlet of repetition that never repeats: ever new birth never rebirth.
Each tide pool microcosm spiraling from your hand.
Sullivan, you had another five years when your society would give you work.
Thirty years with want crackling in your hands.
Thirty after years with cities flowering and turning grey in your beard.
All poets are unemployed nowadays.
My country marches in its sleep.
The past structures a heavy mausoleum hiding its iron frame in masonry.
Men burn like grass while armies grow.
Thirty years in the vast rumbling gut of this society you stormed to be used, screamed no louder than any other breaking voice.
The waste of a good man bleeds the future that's come in Chicago, in flat America, where the poor still bleed from the teeth, housed in sewers and filing cabinets, where prophets may spit into the wind till anger sleets their eyes shut, where this house that dances the seasons and the braid of all living and the joy of a man making his new good thing is strange, irrelevant as a meteor, in Chicago, in flat America in this year of our burning.

Written by Marge Piercy |

To Be of Use

 The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element, the black sleek heads of seals bouncing like half-submerged balls.
I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart, who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience, who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward, who do what has to be done, again and again.
I want to be with people who submerge in the task, who go into the fields to harvest and work in a row and pass the bags along, who are not parlor generals and field deserters but move in a common rhythm when the food must come in or the fire be put out.
The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil, Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry and a person for work that is real.

Written by Marge Piercy |

Always Unsuitable

 She wore little teeth of pearls around her neck.
They were grinning politely and evenly at me.
Unsuitable they smirked.
It is true I look a stuffed turkey in a suit.
Breasts too big for the silhouette.
She knew at once that we had sex, lots of it as if I had strolled into her diningroom in a dirty negligee smelling gamy smelling fishy and sporting a strawberry on my neck.
I could never charm the mothers, although the fathers ogled me.
I was exactly what mothers had warned their sons against.
I was quicksand I was trouble in the afternoon.
I was the alley cat you don't bring home.
I was the dirty book you don't leave out for your mother to see.
I was the center- fold you masturbate with then discard.
Where I came from, the nights I had wandered and survived, scared them, and where I would go they never imagined.
Ah, what you wanted for your sons were little ladies hatched from the eggs of pearls like pink and silver lizards cool, well behaved and impervious to desire and weather alike.
Mostly that's who they married and left.
Oh, mamas, I would have been your friend.
I would have cooked for you and held you.
I might have rattled the windows of your sorry marriages, but I would have loved you better than you know how to love yourselves, bitter sisters.

Written by Marge Piercy |

Winter Promises

 Tomatoes rosy as perfect baby's buttocks, 
eggplants glossy as waxed fenders, 
purple neon flawless glistening 
peppers, pole beans fecund and fast 
growing as Jack's Viagra-sped stalk, 
big as truck tire zinnias that mildew 
will never wilt, roses weighing down 
a bush never touched by black spot, 
brave little fruit trees shouldering up 
their spotless ornaments of glass fruit: 

I lie on the couch under a blanket 
of seed catalogs ordering far 
too much.
Sleet slides down the windows, a wind edged with ice knifes through every crack.
Lie to me, sweet garden-mongers: I want to believe every promise, to trust in five pound tomatoes and dahlias brighter than the sun that was eaten by frost last week.

Written by Marge Piercy |

Traveling Dream

 I am packing to go to the airport 
but somehow I am never packed.
I keep remembering more things I keep forgetting.
Secretly the clock is bolting forward ten minutes at a click instead of one.
Each time I look away, it jumps.
Now I remember I have to find the cats.
I have four cats even when I am asleep.
One is on the bed and I slip her into the suitcase.
One is under the sofa.
I drag him out.
But the tabby in the suitcase has vanished.
Now my tickets have run away.
Maybe the cat has my tickets.
I can only find one cat.
My purse has gone into hiding.
Now it is time to get packed.
I take the suitcase down.
There is a cat in it but no clothes.
My tickets are floating in the bath tub full of water.
I dry them.
One cat is in my purse but my wallet has dissolved.
The tickets are still dripping.
I look at the clock as it leaps forward and see I have missed my plane.
My bed is gone now.
There is one cat the size of a sofa.

Written by Marge Piercy |

A Work Of Artifice

 The bonsai tree
in the attractive pot
could have grown eighty feet tall
on the side of a mountain
till split by lightning.
But a gardener carefully pruned it.
It is nine inches high.
Every day as he whittles back the branches the gardener croons, It is your nature to be small and cozy, domestic and weak; how lucky, little tree, to have a pot to grow in.
With living creatures one must begin very early to dwarf their growth: the bound feet, the crippled brain, the hair in curlers, the hands you love to touch.

Written by Marge Piercy |

Toad Dreams

 That afternoon the dream of the toads 
rang through the elms by Little River
and affected the thoughts of men, 
though they were not conscious that 
they heard it.
--Henry Thoreau The dream of toads: we rarely credit what we consider lesser life with emotions big as ours, but we are easily distracted, abstracted.
People sit nibbling before television's flicker watching ghosts chase balls and each other while the skunk is out risking grisly death to cross the highway to mate; while the fox scales the wire fence where it knows the shotgun lurks to taste the sweet blood of a hen.
Birds are greedy little bombs bursting to give voice to appetite.
I had a cat who died of love.
Dogs trail their masters across con- tinents.
We are far too busy to be starkly simple in passion.
We will never dream the intense wet spring lust of the toads.

Written by Marge Piercy |

Barbie Doll

 This girlchild was born as usual
and presented dolls that did pee-pee
and miniature GE stoves and irons
and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said: You have a great big nose and fat legs.
She was healthy, tested intelligent, possessed strong arms and back, abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.
She went to and fro apologizing.
Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs.
She was advised to play coy, exhorted to come on hearty, exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.
Her good nature wore out like a fan belt.
So she cut off her nose and her legs and offered them up.
In the casket displayed on satin she lay with the undertaker's cosmetics painted on, a turned-up putty nose, dressed in a pink and white nightie.
Doesn't she look pretty? everyone said.
Consummation at last.
To every woman a happy ending.

Written by Marge Piercy |

The Woman in the Ordinary

 The woman in the ordinary pudgy downcast girl
is crouching with eyes and muscles clenched.
Round and pebble smooth she effaces herself under ripples of conversation and debate.
The woman in the block of ivory soap has massive thighs that neigh, great breasts that blare and strong arms that trumpet.
The woman of the golden fleece laughs uproariously from the belly inside the girl who imitates a Christmas card virgin with glued hands, who fishes for herself in other's eyes, who stoops and creeps to make herself smaller.
In her bottled up is a woman peppery as curry, a yam of a woman of butter and brass, compounded of acid and sweet like a pineapple, like a handgrenade set to explode, like goldenrod ready to bloom.