Four poems by Marge Piercy

Yes, it’s alive
             By Marge Piercy

Earth is alive with tiny creatures—
burrowing animals like moles,
worms that eat dirt and shit
fertilizer, microbes, nematodes.

Soil gives life to all of us, source
of our healthiest food, the bounty,
the beauty of yellow squash, red
cabbages, the many lettuce shades.

Orange of pumpkins, red, yellow,
orange, darkest maroon tomatoes
and peppers glossy purple egg-
plants, pink rhubarb, flowers
of squashes and herbs. Trees

short like our sour cherry, pear,
huge like our weeping beech,
a steeple of fir, the lace of our
Japanese maple --all thrust upward.

All soil lived, till we killed it with
pesticides, herbicides, greed
and overuse. On our knees we
should beg earth for forgiveness.

How it is in the heat
             By Marge Piercy

As the summers burn hotter
and hotter, gardening turns
from pleasure to weary chore.

As butterflies die off, bees
also in danger become more
necessary, must be lured.

As all crops come earlier
and sometimes now all
at once, we’re swamped.

We dream of fire, wake
to drought. We’ve become
a plague upon the earth.

The land and air are changed
             By Marge Piercy

Anyone who grows their food
obsesses about weather. Every
morning I consult two sources,
often contradictory. For many

years we had a gentle shift
of seasons, spring, summer,
fall, winter came at calendar
times. We always had storms

some overland, many the ocean
shoved in. Now it can be warm
in February, cold in July, hotter
than it’s ever been and drier.

We have more insects but less
bees. We have new mosquitoes
aggressive as tigers, bigger,
faster and holding more diseases.

We have weeds we’d never seen.
Watching a butterfly is a rarity.
Walk in the woods down old trails?
Come back with twenty ticks.

It’s all changing. Great white sharks
may celebrate though sometimes
it’s too hot for them. The West burns.
Does anyone in power care?

This beautiful morning
             By Marge Piercy

After eight weeks of drought,
bushes, trees, plants dying
grass gone down to bare dirt
polluted air heavy and thick

this morning of no expectation
only 10% likelihood weather
forecasters said, it began slow
soft and a kitten’s paw

on, off, on, off, then finally
an hour of true rain, puddles
even. The air is sweet again
light and clean in the lungs.

Everything breathes, sits up
expands a bit. I swear beans,
peppers lengthen. Joy rings me
like a pure copper bell. Ole`!

- Marge Piercy has published 20 poetry collections, most recently On The Way Out, Turn Off the Light (Knopf, September 30, 2020); 17 novels including Sex Wars. PM Press reissued, Vida, Dance the Eagle to Sleep; they brought out short stories The Cost of Lunch, Etc. and My Body, My Life [essays, poems]. She has read at over 500 venues here and abroad.

Copyright©2022 by Marge Piercy. All Rights Reserved.