Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dear Colette by Erica Mann Jong

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (January 28, 1873 – August 3, 1954)

Dear Colette
By Erica Mann Jong

Dear Colette,
I want to write to you
about being a woman
for that is what you write to me.

I want to tell you how your face
enduring after thirty, forty, fifty . . .
hangs above my desk
like my own muse.

I want to tell you how your hands
reach out from your books
& seize my heart.
I want to tell you how your hair
electrifies my thoughts
like my own halo.

I want to tell you how your eyes
penetrate my fear
& make it melt.

I want to tell you
simply that I love you--
though you are "dead"
& I am still “alive.”

Suicides & spinsters--
all our kind!

Even decorous Jane Austen
never marrying,
& Sappho leaping,
& Sylvia in the oven,
& Anna Wickham, Tsvetaeva, Sara Teasdale,
& pale Virginia floating like Ophelia,
& Emily alone, alone, alone . . . .

But you endure & marry,
go on writing,
lose a husband, gain a husband,
go on writing,
sing & tap dance
& you go on writing,
have a child & still
you go on writing,
love a woman, love a man
& go on writing.
You endure your writing
& your life.

Dear Colette,
I only want to thank you:

for your eyes ringed
with bluest paint like bruises,
for your hair gathering sparks
like brush fire,
for your hands which never willingly
let go,
for your years, your child, your lovers,
all your books . . .

Dear Colette,
you hold me
to this life.


"Colette was the surname of the fabulous French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She is best known for her novels "Gigi" and "Chéri".  Her writing career bloomed following the publication of Chéri in 1920. Chéri tells a story of the end of a six-year affair between an aging retired courtesan, Léa, and a pampered young man, Chéri. She published around 50 novels in total, many with autobiographical elements. Her themes can be roughly divided into idyllic natural tales or dark struggles in relationships and love. All her novels were marked by clever observation and dialogue with an intimate, explicit style." ~From:  Wikipedia

Colette is one of my favorite female authors.  She was a wild woman, ahead of her time, and a prolific writer.  She lived a colorful life---once causing a near riot by kissing a woman onstage at the Moulin Rouge.  If you've never read her, then definitely check out her books. I have "The Collected Stories of Colette" and it's a good book to begin exploring her writing.

I was introduced to Erica Jong when I read her novel "Fear of Flying" when it first came out around 1973.  I didn't know then that she was also an amazing poet until a friend gave me her book of poems, "Becoming Light" in the early 1990's.  I devoured it in only one day and it, of course, led me to more poets.  (She's the poet who introduced me to the amazing Pablo Neruda).  Warning:  Reading poetry leads to buying and reading more poetry.  It's a perfect rondo!  This is an awesome book overflowing with light, as the title suggests.  We MUST buy and read poetry to support other poets and to keep poetry in this world.

I don't know if y'all are aware, but April is National Poetry Month.  There's lots of yummy information about it at if you're interested:
I'm going to try to introduce you to new poets that I've never before posted about.  As I've said many times, I have a collectcion of over 300 books (and still growing) of poetry, so I have a wealth of poets to choose from.  I'll sprinkle a few of my poems in from time to time.  Spring has me busy sprouting seeds, planting seeds, washing yellow Pine pollen off my truck every day and sitting on the ground pulling weeds.  But I always make time for poetry.

And what does a black cat doing serious cat yoga have to do with poetry?  Why, my Gir IS poetry!!!  He's the awesomest black cat I've ever owned.  His Mama tried to kill him 3 times when he was first born...but I saved him all 3 times.  :-)

Have a wonderful Easter, everyone.

Love & Blessings,



Poetry, like the moon, does not advertise anything. ~William Blissett


We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. ~Dead Poet's Society


Kelly said...

One of the things I love about your posts, Marion, is that you enlighten me as well as entertain me!!

I look forward to learning about some new poets here this month and, of course, enjoying some of yours in addition!!

Happy Easter to you and Ray!

Marion said...

Thank you, Kelly. I love to enlighten & entertain people. I've been going through my books this morning and have about 5 picked out. Now to find photos to go with them.

Happy Easter to you and your family, too. Love & Blessings, my friend!!

lakeviewer said...

Marion, thanks for this.

lakeviewer said...

p.s. Love the music, too.

Marion said...

Rosaria, you are welcome. Thank you for stopping by. Blessings!

quid said...

What a wonderful tribute to Collette and a great poem by Erica Jong. I can see why you love her poetry. As I came to your blog tonight, Diana Krall was singing "Garden in the Rain". What a great interlude!


Terresa said...

Love this and the quotes by Blissett & Dead Poet's, too.

Happy NaPoWriMo!!

Terresa said...

PS: A fine and fitting tribute to both Jong (love her!) and Colette.

Marion said...

The poetry you post does change my mind about poetry, Marion. I was convinced I couldn't read it and understand it, I was convinced I didn't like it. But here...your poetry has changed my mind. I'm not quite to the point where I'll read books of poetry...but I certainly like the ones you've posted. Thank you!

The Word Verification today on your blog is Kings. I find that interesting!

Enjoy your the time I get home I'll be up to my ears in it as well!

Marion said...

Quid, glad you enjoyed your visit. I love, love, love Diana Krall (and her husband, Elvis Costello). Her music is so awesome. Blessings!

Terresa, thank you and Happy NaPoWriMo right back at you! LOL! Blessings!

Marion! I just love it when someone tells me what you just said. A lot of folks have preconceived ideas that all poetry is written in riddle and secret code. I love poetry that says what it says and is not too highbrow. Love the "Kings" verification. Perfect for this time of year. Blessings!!

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

A visit to your blog is always a pleasure. I love the poem, so full of love, which I know is on a different plane after someone dies, but no less intense...

Marion said...

Teri, I'm glad you enjoyed the poem. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!