Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Marge Piercy Poem: the lowest will endure

Here's a poem from another book I bought back in the days (in this case of 1968). "Another" is a reference to previous postings. I've been visiting my bookcases, revisiting contemporary poets I read long before I wrote poetry.

The title poem, "Breaking Camp," offers a culmination of observation. "I belong to nothing but my work carried like a prayer rug on my back."

"Kneeling at the pipes" is apology and ode. You don't need my summation. Read.

Kneeling at the pipes

Princely cockroach, inheritor,
I used to stain the kitchen wall with your brothers,
flood you right down the basin.
I squashed you underfoot, making faces.
I repent.
I am relieved to hear somebody
will survive our noises.
Thoughtlessly I judged you dirty
while dropping poisons and freeways and bombs
on the melted landscape.
I want to bribe you
to memorize certain poems.
My generation too craves posterity.
Accept this dish of well aged meat.
In the warrens of our rotting cities
where those small eggs
round as Earth wait,
spread the Word.

Marge Piercy, Breaking Camp, Weselyan University Press

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