You ask why sometimes I say stop

November 10, 2015

On Saturday the first of three cactus flowers (among many) started to open. Watching these, as Georgia O’Keefe would view a flower, I photographed their progress over three days. The poem at the end adds another element to this photo essay on “Nature as Teacher”.

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You ask why sometimes I say stop

You ask why sometimes I say stop
why sometimes I cry no
while I shake with pleasure.
What do I fear, you ask,
why don’t I always want to come
and come again to that molten
deep sea center where the nerves
fuse open and the brain
and body shine with a black wordless light
fluorescent and heaving like plankton.

If you turn over the old refuse
of sexual slang, the worn buttons
of language, you find men
talk of spending and women
of dying.

You come in a torrent and ease
into limpness. Pleasure takes me
farther and farther from shore
in a series of breakers, each
towering higher before it crashes and spills flat.

I am open then as a palm held out,
open as a sunflower, without
crust, without shelter, without
skin, tideless and unhidden.
How can I let you ride
so far into me and not fear?

Helpless as a burning city,
how can I ignore that the extremes
of pleasure are fire storms
that leave a vacuum into which
dangerous feelings (tenderness,
affection, love) may rush
like gale force winds.

Marge Piercy

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