A Collection with Something for Everyone #FridayFunReads #Poetry #Inspiration

Colors Passing Through us

by Marge Piercy


What Amazon Says


In Colors Passing Through Us, Marge Piercy is at the height of her powers, writing about what matters to her most: the lives of women, nature, Jewish ritual, love between men and women, and politics, sexual and otherwise.

Feisty and funny as always, she turns a sharp eye on the world around her, bidding an exhausted farewell to the twentieth century and singing an “electronic breakdown blues” for the twenty-first. 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, washin gon 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.


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My Thoughts


Marge Piercy has inspired my work for years. Her poem, “In Praise of Joe,” which appears in a previous collection, inspired my poem, “Ode to Dr. Pepper,” which appears in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. Her memoir, Sleeping with Cats, inspired me to write My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, in the same style, with a poem at the end of each chapter.

I found myself relating to many of the poems in Colors Passing Through Us. I enjoyed “Got the 21st Century Blues,” in which she writes about a day when her furnace, computer, and cable stopped working. “Minor Losses,” in which she waxes nostalgic about buying homemade ice cream, reminded me of times as a kid when my family bought ice cream from Baskin-Robbins in Tucson, Arizona, and from Dairy Queen and the ice cream stand in the park here in Sheridan, Wyoming. “The Disintegration” made me thankful my marriage ended in death, not divorce.

I found some poems disturbing. A good example of one of these is “Family Values,” in which she reflects on domestic violence that occurred in her neighborhood when she was growing up. I didn’t particularly care for the sexual references in “Kamasutra for Dummies” and other poems.

But I especially liked the poems on nature themes in the section, “Winter’s Promise.” I found the poems on Judaism in the section, “Little Lights” fascinating. Colors Passing Through Us has something for everyone, and I highly recommend it.

A photo of Abbie smiling in front of a white background. She has short brown hair which is cut short and frames her face. She is wearing a bright red shirt and a dark, flowy scarf swirled with hues of purple, pinks and blues.

New! Why Grandma Doesn’t Know Me

Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.

Independently published with the help of DLD Books.

The cover of the book features an older woman sitting in a wicker chair facing a window. The world beyond the window is bright, and several plants are visible on the terrace. Behind the woman’s chair is another plant, with a tall stalk and wide rounded leaves. The woman has short, white hair, glasses, a red sweater, and tan pants. The border of the picture is a taupe color and reads "Why Grandma Doesn't Know Me" above the photo and "Abbie Johnson Taylor" below it.

Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.

After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.

Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.

Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?






Of Coffee and Felines #OpenBookBlogHop

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

Welcome to another edition of Open Book Blog Hop. This week’s prompt is:  “If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?”


I write in a variety of genres. I don’t know whom I would choose for fiction, but for poetry and memoir, I’d love to work with Marge Piercy. Her poem, “In Praise of Joe” inspired my poem, “Ode to Dr. Pepper,” which appears in my collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver. Her memoir, Sleeping with Cats, in which she provides a poem at the end of each chapter, inspired My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, in which I do the same thing. Marge has some interesting ideas, and I’m sure she could give me some useful feedback. It would be a delight to work with her.


How about you? Is there an author, living or dead, with whom you’d like to work as a beta partner? Please feel free to leave your answer in the comment field. If you’re a blogger and would like to participate in this week’s hop, click here.


By the way, for those of you who use the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, The Red Dress is available for download from their site here. No matter how you read it, please be sure to review it wherever you can. That goes for all my books. Thank you for stopping by. Stay safe, happy, and healthy.


New! The Red Dress

Copyright July 2019 by DLD Books

Image contains: young, dark-haired woman in red dress holding flowers

When Eve went to her high school senior prom, she wore a red dress that her mother had made for her. That night, after dancing with the boy of her dreams, she caught him in the act with her best friend. Months later, Eve, a freshman in college, is bullied into giving the dress to her roommate. After her mother finds out, their relationship is never the same again.

Twenty-five years later, Eve, a bestselling author, is happily married with three children. Although her mother suffers from dementia, she still remembers, and Eve still harbors the guilt for giving the dress away. When she receives a Facebook friend request from her old college roommate and an invitation to her twenty-five-year high school class reunion, then meets her former best friend by chance, she must confront the past in order to face the future.



My Amazon Author Page





In Praise of Joe by Marge Piercy

Image contains: Abbie, smiling.

, Marge Piercy tells us that although coffee is disgusting at times, she can’t function without it. She starts by talking about how she prefers it hot but will drink it iced, tepid, or rancid from a vending machine if necessary.

She compares its blackness to that of bark from an apple tree or swamp water, perceiving its richness as that of tannin, a substance of plant origin used for tanning and in medicine. The scent of coffee, rising like steam, kicks her brain into gear.

She talks about drinking it in coffee bars or out of thermoses or in cars or stadiums or on a beach, explaining how it goes off in her head like a siren in the morning and radiates throughout her body. It doesn’t matter whether it’s latte or cappuccino. Coffee keeps her moving.

She explains what her life would be like without it. She wouldn’t be able to get up in the morning. She would continually press the snooze button and creep through her days. Coffee stimulates her speech and makes her feel human every day. In her last line, she emphasizes the idea that the inky blackness of coffee fuels her writing.


Note: Because of copyright concerns, I cannot post this poem here. You can read it on Your Daily Poem.


Your Turn


I triple dog dare you to take some time to explicate your favorite poem the way I did above. Read the poem a time or two and write down what you see, hear, smell, taste and feel. Like a detective, gather facts. Then compile your ideas into a cohesive review. If you do this on your own blog, please leave a pingback here so I can read it. Good luck. Thanks to Lynda McKinney Lambert and dandeliondiadem for inspiring this.


My Books


My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

How to Build a better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

We Shall Overcome

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Poetry that Influenced Me

In a recent post, I mentioned a correspondence course I was taking from the Hadley Institute. I’m now pleased to announce that I’ve passed the course with an A Plus. For our last assignment, I was instructed to pick three poems, write about them, then compose a poem in the style of one of the poems I picked.

My three chosen poems are: “I Lose My Mind When You Leave the House” by Francesco Marciuliano, “The Lanyard by Billie Collins, and “In Praise of Joe” by Marge Piercy. “I Lose My Mind When You Leave the House” comes from I Could Chew on This, a collection of poems that tell stories from a dog’s point of view. This poem provides a humorous look at what can happen when a dog is left at home, reminding me so much of the Irish setter we had when I was a teen-ager. Marciuliano tells this story in one stanza with many short lines.

In “The Lanyard,” Billie Collins tells his story in a different way. Using several stanzas with many short lines, he shares a memory of creating a lanyard for his mother when he was a boy at summer camp. He starts in the present. Apparently bored, he’s thumbing through a dictionary when he finds the word lanyard, and that gets him to reminiscing. You can click below to hear the author read this poem.


Marge Piercy uses many stanzas containing several short lines, but in this case, she’s not telling a story. She’s describing the many ways she drinks coffee and extolling its virtues. It inspired me to write a poem about Dr. Pepper, which appears in my own collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver.

Now here’s a poem I wrote in the style of “I Lose My Mind When You Leave the House” and other poems in Francesco Marciuliano’s collection. It was also inspired by a visit to my brother in Florida, who has two dogs, and by something I see every day while walking. You can click below to hear me read it.


Four Ways a Dog Looks at Life




I’m too outspoken

so must wear a special collar

during the day while no one’s home.

When I alert the empty house,

it vibrates against my throat,

feels weird, sometimes uncomfortable,

causing me to whine

when I speak my mind.

Life is “ruff.”



“Turkey muffin, turkey muffin,”

you squeak, as my leash clicks into place.

What’s a turkey muffin, anyway?

It doesn’t sound nearly as appealing

as that rotten fish head in the alley.

Now that’s what I want.




Oh, you’re hungry?

You don’t live here,

so you don’t know where anything is.

You don’t see very well, huh?

Well, how about some potato chips?

I know where they are,

in the pantry. Open this door.

They’re right here on the floor.

Now here’s one for you, five for me,

one for you, ten for me,

one for you, twenty for me,

one for you, forty for me.

Oh, the bag’s empty.

Just throw it away.

They’ll think you ate all the chips. Ha ha.




What’s that on the other side of the fence?

A white stick it is,

rolling along the pavement.

A human pushes it.

I want to chase it.

I bark and bark and bark,

leap in the air many times,

try to fly over the fence.

I’m ignored.

Human and stick walk and roll away.


Have any poems ever influenced you? Please tell me about them in the comment field. I leave you now with the hope that someday, you can read a pile of perfect poems.


Author Abbie Johnson Taylor

We Shall Overcome

How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver

That’s Life: New and Selected Poems

My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds

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