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.
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.
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
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?