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I love Marge Piercy with a huge, fierce love. If you've never read her, you're missing out. The poem below is a long-time favorite that gives me shivers every time I read it, because the imagery is so powerful. It makes me remember what it is to fall in love, and how it is in the beginning; the huge heat that is generated. Can you see the speaker? Glowing as she walks? When I read it, I feel warmer. I put my hands out and hold them close to the flames.

I Am A Light You Could Read By
by Marge Piercy

A flame from each finger,
my hands are candleabra,
my hair stands in a torch.
Out of my mouth a long flame hovers.
Can't anyone see, handing me a newspaper?
Can't anyone see, stamping my book overdue?
I walk blazing along Sixth Avenue,
burning gas blue I buy subway tokens,
a bouquet of coals, I cross the bridge.
Invisible I singe strangers and pass.
Now I am on your street.
How your window flickers.
I come bringing my burning body
like an armful of tigerlilies,
like a votive lantern,
like a roomful of tassels and leopards and grapes
for you to come into
dance in my burning
and we will flare up together like stars
and fall to sleep.

Quarrel in the berry patch
by Marge Piercy

I gave you the cherries this year,
the mulberries, you gorgeous beasties
orange and lemon like the bells
of St. Clemons, wherever that is,
Baltimore dashing orioles.

Why do you curse and torment
me, picking black currants?
You can’t have everything.
The yellow female squats over
my head, threatening.

The male twitters and swoops.
Now the catbirds too mew
dire promises of revenge.
Okay, the black currants are mine,
but we’ll split the blueberries.

This is my land, I say, no
different than the boast of Mr.
orange chest from his hanging
nest in the weeping beech
and whose tree is it?

I planted it, I water it,
the squirrels fuck in it,
always somebody has a nest
as it plunges deep in the earth:
its owner, its lover, its end.
mood: working
music: General Public—In Conversation


I love Marge Peircy too! (big surprise) I am actually in the middle of Three Women and don't want to work today, I just want to read.

I just want to read today, too. Alas, I'm denied. Too much to do. But tonight? And the rest of this weekend, when we're not out hiking and visiting the amusement park, I'm going to be ALL ABOUT THE READING. Yessirree!


wow, liz!
first of all, i love marge piercy too. and i love the poems you picked. i like how saucy she is, how irreverent, and still bolt-you-to-your-chair beautiful.


She's a super duper pow-to-the-gut writer :)

I've never been one for much poetry but I am really enjoying the ones you are picking, thanks :)

I'm so glad! That really makes it worth it :)

Thank you for these marvelous poems!

I don't know her! Thank you!

You need to read her poem Attack of the Squash People, it's AWESOME. ;)

WOwie zowie, this one IS AWESOME. Love Marge. I read her memoir last xmas (Sleeping With Cats.) She's one amazing lady!

I just put it on my wishlist, along with a couple others by her. :)

Quarrel in the berry patch ... I really enjoyed reading that.

Your such a well read person & that's why I read your entries, because you open a whole new world to me.


Aw, thanks! I actually don't think I'm a well-read person from a lot of different perspectives, but I'm a WIDELY-read person :) If that makes sense! I don't keep up with political books, or best sellers, and there are a LOT of classics I've never gotten around to (some that make me hang my head in shame that I haven't)


the first time i heard of margie piercy
was in university
in my women's studies class
and the professor read her aloud
and took
my breath

thanks for reminding me of that...

Re: ahhhhhh...

You're so welcome :)

poetry is moreish. cool.

I read her book on writing (So You Want to Write) and it was awesome. I still have it on my shelf to use as a reference and to remind me to read her other work. I'm glad you reminded me of her again here!

I didn't know she had a book about writing. I will have to check that out as well!


hi, liz!
i'd be more than happy to send you my chapbook. would you mind emailing me your address? (it'll be a hard copy, i'm afraid.)
my address is:


Re: chapbook

just sent!


this is wondrous. i spent some time with marge this morning...reading from her book In Colors Passing Through Us (some magnificent poems, of course). love that you shared this one for Poetry Thursday!
liz elayne

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