How can I?
The patience of the small brown spider
reweaving a web from its gut
for the third time this week
This time I will let its grey net
hang still from mirror to shelf.
A spider too must make a living
as it can.
My abbysinian Puck inserts himself
between monitor and keyboard
saying pay attention to me, not
email. I am alive.
Lover with almond shaped pale
green eyes like newly opened
birch leaves, how can I continue
to resist you?
Surrounded by creatures with
their own agendas, feed me,
leave my house alone, don’t
step on me.
I make my awkward way balancing
my own and others’ needs,
a clumsy waitress hoisting
an overloaded tray.
The orchestra playing to deaf ears
The goldfinch waiting its turn at the feeder
calls, calls its name I will never know.
It’s a male in new bright marigold
plumage, now joined by a squadron
of brethren, jostling for sunflower seeds.
We live in the midst of clouds of other
lives we brush aside, bulldoze, poison,
eat unmourned. The earth is our dying
oyster that will poison us too. Once upon
a time the waters ran sweet. Now oily
or flaming from the faucet. Streams
are cocktails of drugs. The fish swim
upsidedown. We are blind and deaf
to the orchestra around us. Ants
signal with pheromones. Bees dance
their data. Even plants warn each
other of danger through delicate
roottips. My cat reads me more
accurately than I can decipher her.
We walk ignorant through nets
of calls, of scents, of chemicals
of signals of whiskers and tails,
all languages we cannot scan.
Sheba taught Solomon to speak with
the animals and that made him wise.
Money moves in
When I moved here the road called Cobb
Farm actually led to a farm, where
in fall we’d clean out the chicken house
for free to feed our vegetables.
You could buy eggs still warm from
a hen’s body. On a rolling meadow
in Eastham, a family raised and sold
ducks. The Old King’s Highway led
for miles, a sandy track through forest
without a house, now subdivisions. I
dug arrowheads where houses crouch
on lawns empty ten months a year.
The ocean beach was a shell picker’s
paradise where now tampon covers,
oil clots and plastic bottles wash up.
Foxes lived on the hill long flattened.
No Trespassing signs are common
as tree frogs used to be. Rich folks
claim the beaches and exile oyster
farmers, families without trust funds.
We may be the last generation to think
butterflies are common. Where did all
the box turtles go? This land I love
I have watched turn into real estate.
I have seen it vanish under huge houses
nobody needs, decks wide enough to land
helicopters on with views of others with too
much money they waste, creating waste.
The crickets are loud at night
a chorus of teakettles demanding
sex. The tomato plants begin
to brown from the bottom up.
Southward a hurricane comes
ashore with murder in its hollow
heart, winds little can stand
against, a surge of tide roiling
over sea walls. The lords of oil
know they will survive however
the soil cracks with drought
and cattle and mustangs die
of thirst. No matter how tornadoes
level towns, strewing the precious
of lives across rubble. Hurricanes
move in posses across the weather
map. We who garden feel climate
change in our dirty hands, see
strange new bugs and stampeding
weeds, piles of eggplants and no
peas, fewer butterflies, more horse
flies. We face the ocean that is way
too warm this time of year and wait
and worry, but we do not pray
to the lords of oil who control
the climate but to whatever god
we offer our hope like the fruits
Cain brought that were rejected.
- for Linda Hogan
At that conference we were required
all us poets and novelists, to give
a quasi-academic lecture of pure shit
served up as blanc mange. I cannot
remember what wan jargon I mewed
or what anyone else spewed, dense,
earnest, boring as mouthfuls of sand
but you I remember with clarity
not your lecture, but that because
you were working with wounded
raptors, you brought a red tailed
hawk, huge, female, perched
on your wrist glaring at us
with eyes of furious topaz.
She was molting. As she
groomed herself a feather
precise as an obsidian knife
and delicate as babyhair
floated into the audience
and I grabbed it. Great
wings stretched out; she
shrieked. You calmed her
and she settled. That vision
imprinted my eyes like black sun.
Poems: Copyright © 2012 by Marge Piercy. All rights, including electronic, are reserved by the author. For permission to reprint one must write the author at:Box 1473 Wellfleet MA 02667. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Marge Piercy is a very widely published and respected poet and fiction writer whose work displays great respect and understanding for the natural world. Knopf brought outPiercy’s 18th poetry book The Hunger Moon: New & selected poems 1980-2010, in paperback 2011. Knopf has also publishedThe Crooked Inheritance, The Moon Is Always Female, What Are Big Girls Made Of, Colors Passing Through Us, Circles on the Water and others in paperback. Piercy has published 17 novels, most recentlySex Wars; PM Press just republished Dance the Eagle to Sleep and Vida with new introductions and will be bringing out Braided Lives next spring. Her memoir is Sleeping with Cats, Harper Perennial. Her work has been translated into 19 languages and she has given readings, workshops or lectures at well over four hundred venues here and abroad. More information can be found at www.margepiercy.com/ The following poems are copyrighted (C) 2012 by Marge Piercy. All rights, including electronic, are reserved by the author.