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.
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. Sriram