marge piercy – “to have without holding”

I found this poem at Jessica Stanley’s wondrous website Something Changed.

A pocket garden in a Los Angeles home. The garden faces the street, but is hidden from public view by a high wooden wall covered with vines and creepers. July 2009.

To Have Without Holding

by Marge Piercy

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can’t do it, you say it’s killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor’s button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.

Marge Piercy is a feminist novelist, poet, and social activist.

Wiki: “Piercy’s poetry tends to be highly personal free verse and often addresses the same concern with feminist and social issues. Her work shows commitment to the dream of social change (what she might call, in Judaic terms, tikkun olam, or the repair of the world), rooted in story, the wheel of the Jewish year, and a range of landscapes and settings.”

Marge Piercy. Image here.

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3 Comments on marge piercy – “to have without holding”

  1. Bea
    25 December 2010 at 10:02 pm (3193 days ago)

    Merry Christmas, Jenny! :D

2Pingbacks & Trackbacks on marge piercy – “to have without holding”

  1. [...] Step 1a: In the event that no creative brainstorm occurs, open drawers and rummage through stuff to quickstart the process. I found red and purple ink stamp pads, a flex-nib fountain pen, ink, and a great poem. [...]

  2. [...] I will no longer “hold back what is owed to the work.” (See poem by Marge Piercy below.) My life informs my art. My experiences are the raw material from which I create. My stories [...]

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