to have without holding…

When I was young and new to poetry my mom bought me a book by Marge Piercy called “The moon is always female.”

It might have been because I was discovering this new language and trying on the clothing of poet. It might have been because I was at college, away from home for the first time. It might have been because we were both a little lost, drifting in the weird, deep water of the women’s movement. The current took us there in the 70’s and kind of left us there in the 80’s. It may have been all of those things.

It was the title, really, led me to pick up the book but it was the poetry that kept me coming back. Today I’d like to share one of those poems with you. I hope you’ll take the time to read it…find a line or even a word that raises its hand to get your attention and just breathe that a moment. I know you’re busy…we’re all busy…but just know poetry is the one of the 8 glasses of water you ought to have, meant to have, need to have…to keep your soul watered.

To Have Without Holding
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.
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One thought on “to have without holding…

  1. Didn’t know this poem, and I love it… “the wind
    roaring and whimpering in the rooms
    rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
    that thwack like rubber bands
    in an open palm.” Thanks, Ang. And YES to writer’s group.

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