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Why marry at all? -- Marge Piercy

Guest poem sent in by Sriram
(Poem #111) Why marry at all?
Why mar what has grown up between the cracks
and flourished like a weed
that discovers itself to bear rugged
spikes of magenta blossoms in August,
ironweed sturdy and bold,
a perennial that endures winters to persist?

Why register with the state?
Why enlist in the legions of the respectable?
Why risk the whole apparatus of roles
and rules, of laws and liabilities?
Why license our bed at the foot
like our Datsun truck: will the mileage improve?

Why encumber our love with patriarchal
word stones, with the old armor
of husband and the corset stays
and the chains of wife? Marriage
meant buying a breeding womb
and sole claim to enforced sexual service.

Marriage has built boxes in which women
have burst their hearts sooner
than those walls; boxes of private
slow murder and the fading of the bloom
in the blood; boxes in which secret
bruises appear like toadstools in the morning.

But we cannot invent a language
of new grunts. We start where we find
ourselves, at this time and place.

Which is always the crossing of roads
that began beyond the earth's curve
but whose destination we can now alter.

This is a public saying to all our friends
that we want to stay together. We want
to share our lives. We mean to pledge
ourselves through times of broken stone
and seasons of rose and ripe plum;
we have found out, we know, we want to continue.

-- Marge Piercy
This poem is from her collection "My Mother's Body". There are many things
about the poem that connect, that touche and provide pleasure. The words
are wonderfully well chosen, the images are striking, the similes and
metaphors compelling and forceful. The internal rhyme holds the story, the
body of the poem extremely well - the consonant "r" sounds dominate the
first part and strengthens the speaker's voice and tone. The poem, for me,
appeals to the head and the heart equally well.

Other notable poems: the title poem "My Mother's Body" is one of her best,
but I thought it too long to read on the screen and did not choose it; "You
Ask Why Sometimes I Say Stop" is another favourite of mine.


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