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For Howard

A light has gone out
and we see and understand far less
of who and what we are
of the task only begun
in the space your life carved out
for us to follow and lead on.

In 1967 in a vast militant protest
like a hundred others in which we both
marched, spoke, were battered by police
we met. We agreed, we argued,
we shared meals, we wrestled, we praised—
an ongoing dialogue cherished
and now cut off. There is nothing
left to do but continue the work of freedom.

Marge Piercy ( is the author of seventeen novels, most recently Sex Wars; seventeen volumes of poetry, most recently The Crooked Inheritance; a memoir Sleeping with Cats; two nonfiction books; and a CD of her political poems, Louder, We Can’t Hear You Yet. She has been an activist most of her life. She wrote this poem ten days after Howard Zinn’s death, January 27, 2010, and read it at Zinn’s memorial, April 3.

2010, Volume 62, Issue 01 (May)
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