Erica Jong

(26 March 1942 / New York City)

To My Brother Poet, Seeking Peace - Poem by Erica Jong

People wish to be settled. Only as long as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.
-- Thoreau

My life has been
the instrument
for a mouth
I have never seen,
breathing wind
which comes
from I know not
where,
arranging and changing
my moods,
so as to make
an opening
for his voice.

Or hers.
Muse, White Goddess
mother with invisible
milk,
androgynous god
in whose grip
I struggle,
turning this way and that,
believing that I chart
my life,
my loves,
when in fact
it is she, he,
who charts them--
all for the sake
of some
as yet unwritten poem.

Twisting in the wind,
twisting like a pirate
dangling in a cage
from a high seawall,
the wind whips
through my bones
making an instrument,
my back a xylophone,
my sex a triangle
chiming,
my lips stretched tight
as drumskins,

I no longer care
who is playing me,
but fear
makes the hairs
stand up
on the backs
of my hands
when I think
that she may stop.

And yet I long
for peace
as fervently as you do--
the sweet connubial bliss
that admits no
turbulence,
the settled life
that defeats poetry,
the hearth before which
children play--
not poets' children,
ragtag, neurotic, demon-ridden,
but the apple-cheeked children
of the bourgeoisie.

My daughter dreams
of peace
as I do:
marriage, proper house,
proper husband,
nourishing dreamless
sex,
love like a hot toddy,
or an apple pie.

But the muse
has other plans
for me
and you.

Puppet mistress,
dangling us
on this dark proscenium,
pulling our strings,
blowing us
toward Cornwall,
toward Venice, toward Delphi,
toward some lurching
counterpane,
a tent upheld
by one throbbing
blood-drenched pole--
her pen, her pencil,
the monolith
we worship,
underneath
the gleaming moon.


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Read poems about / on: children, marriage, husband, wind, poetry, daughter, peace, poem, brother, house, moon, mother, fear, people, hope, dark, life, god, child, believe



Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003



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