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Marge Piercy

  • Memory's a freakish bank / where embarrassing treasures / still draw interest.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Lapsed," Breaking Camp ()
  • Falling out of love / is a rusty chain going quickly through a winch. / It hurts more than you will remember.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Erasure," Hard Loving ()
  • The ruling class isn't dissatisfied: they are healthy, well-fed, live in beauty, enjoy their own importance: fun-loving cannibals.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "The Grand Coolie Damn," in Robin Morgan, Sisterhood Is Powerful ()
  • One trouble: to be a professional anything in the United States is to think of oneself as an expert and one's ideas as semisacred, and to treat others in a certain way — professionally.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "The Grand Coolie Damn," in Robin Morgan, Sisterhood Is Powerful ()
  • The incidence of violent brand-loyalty to one's own current dogma has risen.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "The Grand Coolie Damn," in Robin Morgan, ed., Sisterhood Is Powerful ()
  • The will to be totally rational / is the will to be made out of glass and steel: / and to use others as if they were glass and steel.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Song of the Fucked Duck" (1969), in Robin Morgan, ed., Sisterhood Is Powerful ()
  • The pitcher cries for water to carry / and a person for work that is real.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • title poem, To Be of Use ()
  • Troubles cured you salty as a country ham, / smoky to the taste, thick skinned and tender inside ...

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "What you waited for," To Be of Use ()
  • Regret is a damp wind / off the used car lot / where most of our peers came to rest.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Night letter," To Be of Use ()
  • ... the body is simple as a turtle / and straight as a dog: / the body cannot lie.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "A shadow play for guilt," To Be of Use ()
  • If what we change does not change us / we are playing with blocks.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "A shadow play for guilt," To Be of Use ()
  • She must learn again to speak / starting with I / starting with we / starting as the infant does / with her own true hunger / and pleasure / and rage.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Unlearning to not speak," To Be of Use ()
  • Nobody can live on a bridge / or plant potatoes / but it is fine for comings and goings, / meetings, partings and long views / and a real connection to someplace else / where you may / in the crazy weathers of struggle / now and again want to be.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Bridging," To Be of Use ()
  • Whatever is not an energy source, is an energy sink.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Laying Down the Tower," To Be of Use ()
  • Despair is the worst betrayal, the coldest seduction: / to believe at last that the enemy will prevail.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "The Knight of Swords," To Be of Use ()
  • Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground. / You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "The Seven of Pentacles," To Be of Use ()
  • History is a game played backwards only.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "The Magician," To Be of Use ()
  • Pain is a forcing sieve that turns me to gruel.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Flat on My Back," Living in the Open ()
  • How beautiful is trouble / actively pursued.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Flat on My Back," Living in the Open ()
  • I am thirsty for your hands / light as water on me.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "I Evoke the Gray Fox," Living in the Open ()
  • I love what I cannot be / as well as what I am.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "The Homely War," Living in the Open ()
  • Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing / all of the time on a woman's hunched back.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Rape Poem," Living in the Open ()
  • The moon is always female and so am I although often in the vale of razorblades I have wished I could put on and take off my sex like a dress and why not?

    • Marge Piercy,
    • title poem, The Moon Is Always Female ()
  • We are rich earthy cooks / both of us and the flesh we are working / off was put on with grave pleasure.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Morning athletes," The Moon Is Always Female ()
  • Nothing is won by endurance / but endurance.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "When a friend dies," The Moon Is Always Female ()
  • Moments / of sinking my teeth / into now like a hungry fox: / never otherwise / am I so cruel; / never otherwise / so happy.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Apologies," The Moon Is Always Female ()
  • What a richly colored strong warm coat / is woven when love is the warp and work is the woof.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "The inquisition," The Moon Is Always Female ()
  • Work is its own cure. You have to / like it better than being loved.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "For the young who want to," The Moon Is Always Female ()
  • ... age / has gutted me to rubbing bones / knotted up in a leather sack ...

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "At the well," The Moon Is Always Female ()
  • Burning dinner is not incompetence but war.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "What's That Smell in the Kitchen?" Circles on the Water ()
  • Too much self-regard has never struck me as dignified: trying to twist over my shoulder to view my own behind.

  • My idea of hell is to be young again.

  • I don't even remember what Mother and I quarreled about: it is a continual quarrel that began when I reached puberty.

  • He ... treats his emotions like mice that infest our basement or the rats in the garage, as vermin to be crushed in traps or poisoned with bait.

  • If sex is a war, I am a conscientious objector: I will not play.

  • [Long hair] is considered bohemian, which may be why I grew it, but I keep it long because I love the way it feels, part cloak, part fan, part mane, part security blanket.

  • Love says, mine. Love says, I could eat you up. Love says, stay as you are, be my own private thing, don't you dare have ideas I don't share. Love has just got to gobble the other, bones and all, crunch. I don't want to do that. I sure don't want it done to me!

  • All women are misfits, I think; we do not fit into this world without amputations.

  • Our wedding plans please everybody as if we were fertilizing the earth and creating social luck.

  • Now that I am in my forties, she [my mother] tells me I'm beautiful; now that I am in my forties, she sends me presents and we have the long, personal and even remarkably honest phone calls I always wanted so intensely I forbade myself to imagine them. How strange. Perhaps Shaw was correct and if we lived to be several hundred years old, we would finally work it all out. I am deeply grateful. With my poems, I finally won even my mother. The longest wooing of my life.

  • You called me bad and I posed like a gutter / queen in a dress sewn of knives. / All I feared was being stuck in a box / with a lid. A good woman appeared to me / indistinguishable from a dead one / except that she worked all the time.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • title poem, My Mother's Body ()
  • My mother is my mirror and I am hers. / What do we see? Our face grown young again ...

    • Marge Piercy,
    • title poem, My Mother's Body ()
  • Like species, couples die out or evolve.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Witnessing a wedding," My Mother's Body ()
  • A woman and a Jew, sometimes more / of a contradiction than I can sweat out, / yet finally the intersection that is both / collision and fusion, stone and seed.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "The Ram's Horn Sounding," Available Light ()
  • Life on the streets killed you slow, but sometimes people or the weather saw that it happened a lot faster.

  • We admire predators — panthers, lions, tigers, even wolves. Maybe to be naturally thoughtful and hesitant to use violence is to be somehow second rate. To be in the middle of the social food chain. Especially if you're a man. This society thinks real men are violent.

  • Bless the gift of memory / that breaks unbidden, released / from a flower or a cup of tea / so the dead move like rain through the room.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Interpretation of the She'ma," The Art of Blessing the Day ()
  • It is not sex that gives the pleasure, but the lover.

    • Marge Piercy
  • If you want to be listened to, you should put in time listening.

    • Marge Piercy
  • Life is the first gift, love is the second, and understanding the third.

  • The moon floats belly up like a dead goldfish.

    • Marge Piercy
  • The moment shimmered like a glass of full-bodied wine.

    • Marge Piercy
  • Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen.

    • Marge Piercy
  • I walk under the sickle moon / sharpened and new and whistling.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "Feeling Quite Temporary," Mars and Her Children: Poems ()

Marge Piercy, U.S. writer, poet

(1936)