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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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by Marge Piercy | |

The Friend

 We sat across the table.
he said, cut off your hands.
they are always poking at things.
they might touch me.
I said yes.
Food grew cold on the table.
he said, burn your body.
it is not clean and smells like sex.
it rubs my mind sore.
I said yes.
I love you, I said.
That's very nice, he said I like to be loved, that makes me happy.
Have you cut off your hands yet?

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.

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.

More great poems below...

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.

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.

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.

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.

by Marge Piercy | |

You Ask Why Sometimes I Say Stop

 You ask why sometimes I say stop
why sometimes I cry no
while I shake with pleasure.
What do I fear, you ask, why don't I always want to come and come again to that molten deep sea center where the nerves fuse open and the brain and body shine with a black wordless light fluorescent and heaving like plankton.
If you turn over the old refuse of sexual slang, the worn buttons of language, you find men talk of spending and women of dying.
You come in a torrent and ease into limpness.
Pleasure takes me farther and farther from the shore in a series of breakers, each towering higher before it crashes and spills flat.
I am open then as a palm held out, open as a sunflower, without crust, without shelter, without skin, hideless and unhidden.
How can I let you ride so far into me and not fear? Helpless as a burning city, how can I ignore that the extremes of pleasure are fire storms that leave a vacuum into which dangerous feelings (tenderness, affection, l o v e) may rush like gale force winds.

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.

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.

by Marge Piercy | |

For the Young Who Want To

 Talent is what they say 
you have after the novel 
is published and favorably 
Beforehand what you have is a tedious delusion, a hobby like knitting.
Work is what you have done after the play is produced and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking when you are planning to go out and get a job.
Genius is what they know you had after the third volume of remarkable poems.
Earlier they accuse you of withdrawing, ask why you don't have a baby, call you a bum.
The reason people want M.
's, take workshops with fancy names when all you can really learn is a few techniques, typing instructions and some- body else's mannerisms is that every artist lacks a license to hang on the wall like your optician, your vet proving you may be a clumsy sadist whose fillings fall into the stew but you're certified a dentist.
The real writer is one who really writes.
Talent is an invention like phlogiston after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure.
You have to like it better than being loved.

by Marge Piercy | |

The Seven Of Pentacles

 Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water, if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food, if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars, if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees, then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.
Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half the tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.
Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure: Make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in, a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.
Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen: reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always, for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting, after the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

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.

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.

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.

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.

by Marge Piercy | |

Implications of One Plus One

 Sometimes we collide, tectonic plates merging, 
continents shoving, crumpling down into the molten 
veins of fire deep in the earth and raising 
tons of rock into jagged crests of Sierra.
Sometimes your hands drift on me, milkweed's airy silk, wingtip's feathery caresses, our lips grazing, a drift of desires gathering like fog over warm water, thickening to rain.
Sometimes we go to it heartily, digging, burrowing, grunting, tossing up covers like loose earth, nosing into the other's flesh with hot nozzles and wallowing there.
Sometimes we are kids making out, silly in the quilt, tickling the xylophone spine, blowing wet jokes, loud as a whole slumber party bouncing till the bed breaks.
I go round and round you sometimes, scouting, blundering, seeking a way in, the high boxwood maze I penetrate running lungs bursting toward the fountain of green fire at the heart.
Sometimes you open wide as cathedral doors and yank me inside.
Sometimes you slither into me like a snake into its burrow.
Sometimes you march in with a brass band.
Ten years of fitting our bodies together and still they sing wild songs in new keys.
It is more and less than love: timing, chemistry, magic and will and luck.
One plus one equal one, unknowable except in the moment, not convertible into words, not explicable or philosophically interesting.
But it is.
And it is.
And it is.

by Marge Piercy | |

Attack of the Squash People

 And thus the people every year 
in the valley of humid July 
did sacrifice themselves 
to the long green phallic god 
and eat and eat and eat.
They're coming, they're on us, the long striped gourds, the silky babies, the hairy adolescents, the lumpy vast adults like the trunks of green elephants.
Recite fifty zucchini recipes! Zucchini tempura; creamed soup; sauté with olive oil and cumin, tomatoes, onion; frittata; casserole of lamb; baked topped with cheese; marinated; stuffed; stewed; driven through the heart like a stake.
Get rid of old friends: they too have gardens and full trunks.
Look for newcomers: befriend them in the post office, unload on them and run.
Stop tourists in the street.
Take truckloads to Boston.
Give to your Red Cross.
Beg on the highway: please take my zucchini, I have a crippled mother at home with heartburn.
Sneak out before dawn to drop them in other people's gardens, in baby buggies at churchdoors.
Shot, smuggling zucchini into mailboxes, a federal offense.
With a suave reptilian glitter you bask among your raspy fronds sudden and huge as alligators.
You give and give too much, like summer days limp with heat, thunderstorms bursting their bags on our heads, as we salt and freeze and pickle for the too little to come.

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.

by Marge Piercy | |

The Neighbor

 Man stomping over my bed in boots 
carrying a large bronze church bell 
which you occasionally drop: 
gross man with iron heels 
who drags coffins to and fro at four in the morning, 
who hammers on scaffolding all night long, 
who entertains sumo wrestlers and fat acrobats--
I pass you on the steps, we smile and nod.
Rage swells in me like gas.
Now rage too keeps me awake.