Marge Piercy

Longest night approaching

To write about love
in this volcanic time
where shards of hatred
litter the streets and kill

feels like a parlor game.
But if we can’t feel for
each other, how can we
care about a mine ripped

child, a mother drowned
as an overloaded boat
sinks in sight of a shore
of refuge, a girl raped

into submission, a boy
handed a rifle at ten, cats
gassed in shelters, calves
penned from their mothers

crying for her milk. How
can we feel anything but
raw urges if we can’t love
a partly broken dear one?

We are all half unmade
full of preprogrammed
desires for manniquins
and cars that can’t love us.

We have only each botched
other to help us through
the mud that wants to drown
us, close up our eyes, shut

our mouths so we can’t speak
clumsy truths aloud to men
fat and shiny with power they’ll
burn the world down to keep.



Marge Piercy has written 17 novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers; the National Bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women; the classics Woman on the Edge of Time and He, She and It; and most recently Sex Wars. Among her 19 volumes of poetry the most recently published include The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems 1980-2010, and Made in DetroitHer critically acclaimed memoir is Sleeping with Cats. Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she is active in antiwar, feminist and environmental causes. For more information, please visit

Photo of Marge Piercy by Ira Wood