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poem of the day: “The Low Road,” by Marge Piercy

July 2nd, 2009

“What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.
They can set you up, they can
bust you, they can break
your fingers, they can
burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you
can’t walk, can’t remember, they can
take your child, wall up
your lover. They can do anything
you can’t stop them
from doing. How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.

But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organization. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again and they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know you who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.”

-Marge Piercy

From “The Moon is Always Female”, published by
Alfred A. Knopf, Copyright 1980 by Marge Piercy


  1. WackyMummy says

    I like. =)

    July 2nd, 2009 | #

  2. Anne T says

    Thanks WM. Good to know you are a fan.
    I am not familiar with this Piercy poem. But lines from others are in my heart. We read “To Be of Use” at my mom’s funeral. These lines are from there:
    “The work of the world is common as mud.
    Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
    But the thing worth doing well done
    has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.”
    And I love the lines
    “Economy is the bone, politics is the flesh,
    watch who they beat and who they eat,
    watch who they relieve themselves on, watch who they own.
    The rest is decoration.”
    from “In the Men’s Rooms”
    Still resonant thirty years later….

    July 3rd, 2009 | #

  3. The Other Laura says

    I love Marge Piercy and have actually had dinner at the same table with her – and yes, she smells a bit like patchouli.

    My sister read a poem of hers at our wedding. Thanks for reminding me.

    July 5th, 2009 | #

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