“I remember after a reading somebody came up to me and said, I love that political poem of yours, and my husband, who was standing next to me, said, Which one? They’re all political, and I was pleased by that. I would feel the same if she had said, ‘I love that feminist poem of yours.’ It’s a point of view, it’s a stance, it’s an attitude towards life that affects, and afflicts, everything I do.”
by Carolyn Kizer
Last night a baby gargled in the throes
Of a fatal spasm. My children are all grown
Past infant strangles; so, reassured, I knew
Some other baby perished in the snow.
But no. The cat was making love again.
Later, I went down and let her in.
She hung her tail, flagging from her sins.
Though she’d eaten, I forked out another dinner,
Being myself hungry in all ways, and thin
From metaphysic famines she knows nothing of,
The feckless beast! Even so, resemblances
Were on my mind: female and feline, though
She preens herself from satisfaction, and does
Not mind lying even in snow. She is
Lofty and bedraggled, without need to choose.
As an ex-animal, I look fondly on
Her excesses and simplicities, and would not return
To them; taking no marks for what I have become,
Merely that my nine lives peal in my ears again
And again, ring in these austerities.
These arbitrary disciplines of mine,
Most of them trivial: like covering
The children on my way to bed, and trying
To live well enough alone, and not to dream
Of grappling in the snow, claws plunged in fur,
Or waken in a caterwaul of dying.
Consider the hummingbirds,
how they’re gussied up
as the worst (or best)
Consider the bright,
from “Scripture,” by Rae Armantrout