Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear Colette by Erica Jong

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.



erin said...

we are nails to one another
holding each other in place.
fucking brilliant piece, marion.
brilliant. i love it. it turns right there in the middle of it with the passion of women writers. and not even death diminishes them!


Wine and Words said...

I like that part about writing through it all...enduring your own writing. Interesting also the use of "&". Not sure I've seen that in a poem before. Miss you my Marion!!!


how wonderful this piece! i love it - and of course, both women, magnificent - but aren't we all, in our own ways? ;)

thanks so much for sharing this!

hope things are glorious in your world!

Kelly said...

Good to see you posting today....I know now you survived the storms. It was certainly a wild night, wasn't it!?! Two nights in a row for us, but especially last night.

Hoping to move my moonflower plants out soon.

Serena said...


Margaret Pangert said...

Yes, Colette was amazing. Her first husband totally controlled and abused her, and she turned it to her advantage. And through everything she wrote her novels. Eerie how Jong listed the suicides like that. The wonderful Erica Jong is also a suvivor. Great, great find, Marion.

Maggie May said...

bluest paint like bruises...


Phoenix said...

Love this one! Such a great ode to a woman who realized that she could still have a life AND write at the same time! I think as women we still think that we can only be either artists or parents and not both, and I love that this poem celebrates the fact that Colette most certainly did not think she had to choose between the two.

Awesome poem, Marion. Thanks for sharing :)