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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Poetry Friday--Happy Birthday Marge Piercy!

Novelist and poet, Marge Piercy, was born 81 years ago on March 31 in Detroit. She now lives in Massachusetts, so, we'll call her a neighbor. Much of her poetry is concerned with social issues and she pulls no punches. Here is one such poem that is found in The Art of Blessing the Day: Poems With a Jewish Theme [811 PIE]:
Woman in a Shoe

There was an old woman who lived
in a shoe, her own two shoes,
men’s they were, brown and worn.
They flapped when she hobbled along.

There was an old woman who lived
in a refrigerator box under
the expressway with her cat.
January, they died curled together.

There was an old woman who lived
in a room under the roof. It
got hot, but she was scared
to open the window. It got hotter.

Too hot, too cold, too poor,
too old. Invisible unless
she annoys you, invisible
unless she gets in your way.

In fairy tales if you are kind
to an old woman, she gives you
the thing you desperately need:
an unconquerable sword, a purse

bottomless and always filled,
a magical ring. We don’t believe
that anymore. Such tales were
made up by old women scared

to be thrust from the hearth,
shoved into the street to starve.
Who fears an old woman pushing
a grocery cart? She is talking

to god as she shuffles along,
her life in her pockets. You
are the true child of her heart
and you see living garbage.

Let that settle in for a while...then, head down to The Poem Farm for this week's Round-Up.


  1. Diane, I do intend to let this settle with me throughout the day. The descriptions are so riveting. Thank you for sharing this piece.

  2. Diane - powerful! I didn't know about Marge Piercy previously so thanks for introducing her to me!

  3. Wowza. I am copying this one down. When I think of Piercy, I think of "To Be of Use." Thank you for this one. Happy Poetry Month... xx

  4. Those last few lines gave me shivers. My library serves a large indigent population, and I do wish that people could look beyond the exterior, and see the living, breathing, hoping, dreaming human.

  5. Wow! That poem packs a punch. Thank you for sharing it in honor of Piercy's birthday.