We will grasp our desires soon by the nape

That photo above is of my husband and daughter at the Seattle women’s march. The one below is me with both my kids. I was grateful to greet the marchers at Seattle Center, though I wasn’t able to walk the 3+ miles due to pain. The plodding, mechanical unfolding of Trump’s agenda is now seeping through my pores, a stench I can’t escape. Here on the blog, I’m due to write a Week 3 progress report, but this morning finds me working to get yoga homework done after three nights of terrible sleep and very bad dreams. I can’t seem to close my eyes anymore without getting hit by nightmares, full of stress, dystopian elements, and anxiety.

I’ve started reading poetry in the morning, as an antidote. I have several books of poetry that I’ve read only once, a few I barely skimmed. I couldn’t believe the medicine inside these books, when I began reading them every morning. Everyone, get our your forgotten books of poetry. Read a poem a day for good mental health. It helps. I promise.

I will try to write a Week 3 wrap-up in the next few days, but for now, I’ll leave you with one of Marge Piercy’s poems. I read this in her compilation, The Moon Is Always Female. It’s the first poem, and so far, my favorite.

The inside chance

Dance like a jackrabbit
in the dunegrass, dance
not for release, no
the ice holds hard but
for the promise. Yesterday
the chickadees sand fever,
the mating song.
You can still cross ponds
leaving tracks in the snow
over the sleeping fish
but in the marsh the red
maples look red
again, their buds swelling.
Just one week ago a blizzard
roared for two days.
Ice weeps in the road.
Yet spring hides
in the snow. On the south
wall of the house
the first sharp crown
of crocus stick out.
Spring lurks inside the hard
casing, and the bud
begins to crack. What seems
dead pares its hunger
sharp and stirs groaning.
If we have not stopped
wanting in the long dark,
we will grasp our desires
soon by the nape.
Inside the fallen brown
apple the seed is alive.
Freeze and thaw, freeze
and thaw, the sap leaps
in the maple under the bark
and although they have
pronounced us dead, we
rise again invisibly,
we rise and the sun sings
in us sweet and smoky
as the blood of the maple
that will open its leaves
like thousands of waving hands.



  1. STH says:

    That picture right there gives me hope–parents teaching their kids to love more, be tolerant, fight for what’s right. I went to the march in Spokane and was so cheered to see little girls holding signs that said “Future President” or signs they had come up with themselves.

    I’m glad you’ve found a way to help you get through it. Self care is going to be so important the next four years.

    • I feel that way when I look at your boys! Isn’t it funny? I mean, when I was a teenager, nothing was more boring than an adult telling me, “Wow, you’ve grown!” I always wanted to make some joke, like, “Really? That’s incredible!” Or, “Well, I guess the cocaine isn’t working.”

      But here I am, a parent of a teen and an almost-teen, and nothing seems more ridiculously, continually shocking, than how fast they’re growing, and how fast my friends’ kids grow.

  2. erniek3 says:

    I sewed hats and kept my grumpy replacement hip at home. Grumpy Hip! I understand that being in the march was very stirring and positive, so I’m going to ride those emotions on the internets.

    My children got bigger over night, and now they are taller than me (I would hope so, I’m 5’2″) and mostly pretty nice. I would like to stop commenting on how tall they and their cohort are now, but at my height, it was my wish to be taller and I’m just jealous. Remember when they were babies and it looked like you got a new baby every day?

    That was a million years ago surely.

  3. Pernille Vagtholm says:

    Yes, poetry is nourishment for the soul…. thank you for this.
    ….And how perfect a poem for this post, this time…. <3

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