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She memorializes movingly those who, like los desaparecidos and ...
She memorializes movingly those who, like los desaparecidos and the victims of 9/11, disappear suddenly and without a trace. She writes an elegy for her mother, a woman who struggled with a deadening round of housework, washing on Monday, ironing on Tuesday, and so on, "until stroke broke / her open." She remembers the scraps of lace, the touch of velvet, that were part of her maternal inheritance and first aroused her sensual curiosity. Here are paeans to the pleasures of the natural world (rosy ripe tomatoes, a mating dance of hawks) as the poet confronts her own mortality in the cycle of seasons and the eternity of the cosmos: "I am hurrying, I am running hard / toward I don't know what, / but I mean to arrive before dark."
Other poems-about her grandmother's passage from Russia to the New World, or the interrupting of a Passover seder to watch a comet pass-expand on Piercy's appreciation of Jewish life that won her so much acclaim in The Art of Blessing the Day. Colors Passing Through Us is a moving celebration of the endurance of love and of the phenomenon of life itself-a book to treasure.
Rising in perilous hope
What can I hold in my hands this morning that will not flow through my fingers?
What words can I say that will catch in your mind like burrs, chiggers that burrow?
If my touch could heal, I would lay my hands on your bent head and bellow prayers.
If my words could change the weather or the government or the way the world
twists and guts us, fast or slow,
what could I do but what I do now?
I fit words together and say them;
it is a given like the color of my eyes.
I hope it makes a small difference, as
I hope the drought will break and the morning
come rising out of the ocean wearing a cloak of clean sweet mist and swirling terns.
From the Hardcover edition.