An Aged Feminist Perspective

I am teacher, tending to
budding feminists – persecuted
for their giftedness, depravity
a stink that trails them – defined
by sanitary napkin advertisements,
comfort ridiculed; I falter, my own
rage stifling responsibility…

I am grandmother, overseeing
the growth of a new era, promoting
autonomy, watch as dependence
settles in, how we whitewash human
depravity and forget the babies –
desperate for what?  Am at wit’s end
protesting the depths of society’s fall.

I am crone, observer of young
women, whose ambitions rise,
yet, in face of injustice, are quieted,
we are untrained at cleansing
the excrement of humiliation,
have too long borne obligation
as a demonstration of our fitness,
cling to a losing illusion of control.

It’s Time, Women

It’s time to resurrect
our confidence,
recapture the sensitivity
of intuitive knowing,
acknowledge the power
of our resiliency;
we are women
merciful companions
healers attending
Divinity’s passage,
peace-seekers
directing life’s journey.

Too long have we equated
self-esteem with
patriarchal agendas,
disappointed with
our inability to meet
media standards,
blamed ourselves
for divorce,
disease,
staying home
to raise the children.

It’s time to honour
our strength, restore
feminine worth,
align our resources,
we are iron grace,
mindful caregivers,
mate with intention,
our vulnerability,
our sensuality,
aspects of intrinsic
wisdom, we are
keepers of the dream
beings steeped
in mystery:
it is time.
(Image artist: Shikha Agnihotri Pandey )

 

 

Dear Charlotte Perkins Gilman

(This is a repost of one of my personal favourites.  Check out a live performance of this poem.)

One Woman's Quest

I have examined your wallpaper,
discussed the scholarly attributes
of shades of yellow, traced the edges
of your unravelling with my mind,
argued the merits of Gothic horror;

marvelled at the brilliance of wording,
the courage to define the nature of
feminine madness, the boldness to
highlight inequalities long before the
establishment of a Person’s Act.

Forgive me, but I need to set aside
this keyboard for a moment, for I tire
easily, am suffering from an exhaustion
that is systemic and calls for elimination
of all stimulus in favour of rest, you see

I share your sentence of confinement,
isolated to a room with windows, my
mind wandering to ancestral gardens,
contemplating shadows and movement
cognizant of underlying forces, creeping.

My husband has just left, dear man, having
checked on me, taking on my burden,
concerned that I am not sleeping at night
thinks that by reading and rereading…

View original post 195 more words

Wayward Daughter

Back and forth I travel searching
for her – retrace every bend, curve,
detour – back to the water, the sand,
the beach where I lost her; haunted by

those velvet brown eyes – bedroom eyes,
they told her, men with greedy loins,
calculating – I lost her to the lure of
alcohol, to the pounding beat of drums,

in those smoky corners so far removed
from the purity of her dreams….
it’s been an arduous journey, some days
so lost in the daze of forgetting; I cycle

back, memories of manhood exposed,
egos craving stroking, how she learned
what men wanted, learned to numb
the disappointment with fast-talk

and all-nighters, suppressed tears,
discovered that words hold no promise,
and water is deep, and going within
is a dark, foreboding place, and worth

is shrouded by the shame of discovering
that even the father she adored was not
as she’d thought, and that this primal
urge she felt for mating was a trap

designed to eradicate her beauty, not
enhance it…I need to find her, hold
her afloat in sacred waters, help her feel
the healing light of a thousand women’s

hearts all bleeding as one, all warped
by the same convoluted messages
about womanhood – that lust is sinful
and copulation a man’s domain, and

that in order to be espoused she must
forego her own nature, tame the wild,
settle for loss of control…but as much
as I travel these lonely roads, I cannot

find her, the traces of her innocence
washed away by the tides, lines now
on my aged face…if you see her, please
hold her close, protect her from beasts,

hold her until the beauty of her being
is a solid knowing, and the shame has
been vanquished; and that being a vessel
for man’s release is not her only purpose.

 

 

Black Madonna

Remember that autumn
we drove up to Campbell River,
like teenagers skipping out of class –
a cackle of women, spirituality forming –
felt as if we had bided our time, willing
this union to occur – high on anticipation.

Giddy that our routine femininity had
been strewn across the barricades of
our socially careful existences – we were
like lesbian lovers unafraid to explore our
crevices, our souls hungering for release,
we were researchers, reinventing masks

adopted in formative years, stretching our
capacity to believe, awakened by the crones
among us, sisters united, standing in the
flood of our collective herstory, shedding
the padding of our religious upbringings,
teetering on the brink of a lost divinity –

weavers, once paralyzed by the guck of
patriarchal dictates, fear of ascension
retreating, we broke free, immersed in
Goddess splendour, felt the ecstasy of
true abandonment, were wild women
unrestrained, catalysts for change.

How is it that the passion faded so abruptly,
that motherhood and responsibility, and
the rigours of competing in daily life stripped
away the afterglow, smacked me back into
this rigid self-definition, prayerful, thankful,
yet lacking the empowerment of the island?

Have I stored her somewhere; is there even
a space within me capable of housing such
expansiveness, open to wading once again
in the waters of a lunar deity, willing to sacrifice
superficiality for the compassionate mystery
of the Black Madonna haunting my memory?

(Image: paradisefoundsantabarbara.com)

Prayer for Purpose

If transformation is my path,
then let me be in charge –
reverse this introspective
lull, cease this bystander’s
status, build new awareness,
embrace the fullness of spirit.

Give me legs that I may walk
amongst the gathering voices
brush shoulders with anti-hate
protestors, find my wings, wear
the cause to end racism, sexism,
fear as any spiritual crusader does.

There is need in the world –
extends beyond individual
agendas, compels us to play
a part, cut apathy in favour of
donning a coat of conviction,
deny ties of personal comfort

How can I help; drink from the
well of human connectedness
to quench this deep-seated
disparity; am confined to a
legacy of words, legs inert,
burdened with soul’s passion.

(Image: www.indianweekender.co.nz)

Where Servitude Ends

Born to be domesticated
in a white, controlled desert
tending to two-leggeds –

blamed for delinquencies
I fed but did not groom –
privacy overrun by wannabes

everyone has their own scheme –
I am finished, threaten to disclose
neglect – no limitation to disgust

What fate is this? Abandoned
only to perish – Have I not been
loyal?  Accepting of my role?

Tending to young, in charge of
personal care – translation:
laundry – only comfort solitude.

Past – as industrious as a line
of ants – no longer viable, I am
nothing, dependents gone;

bodily restrictions now claim me
forgotten dreams dissolved – I am
dependent, unwilling legs confine

care unpredictable – ward of the
state – semblance of nutrition
provided, encouraged to sanitize

my body, my attitude; no rest
this home is overpopulated –
vocal laments torment old ears

Pestered by small things, would
leave, stop being a burden, am
decidedly stuck, until life fades.

(Image: favim.com)

Goddess Love

Father’s voice is booming
full of patronizing shame;
the child cowers in fright
turns the negativity inwards.

Learns to doubt, to loathe –
self and others – pulls away,
adapts pig-headed criticism
finds failure in every effort.

 Mother’s voice is soothing
encourages self-reliance,
acknowledges individuality,
invites discernment, assures

the child that smart doubts
are useful, and that owning
the wrath of another only
disables brilliance; coaxes

relaxation, counsels that
outcomes are not based
on judgments of others, but
the results of determination.

Patriarchy instills a sense
of disappointment, begets
a cycle of insecurity intent
only on sabotaging progress.
 

Matriarchy has no agenda, no
use for disapproval, beholds
all life as sacred, exceptional:
to shine, the birthright of all.

 

 

 

Trauma’s Offspring

Insanity meticulously recreates
the murder scene – a minute
replica of the house bloodied;

builds it on the front lawn
where passersby can see,
cannot purge herself of it;

turns on me, annihalation
in her eyes; I will chase her
down, cease this madness;

she is intent on destroying
new life, cutting it into pieces,
re-perpetrating the slaughter;

I must render her defenseless,
wrestle her into submission,
dare not look her in the face

the familiarity of her misery
a mirror of self-loathing; this
sometimes sister/daughter.

Daughters, Be Free

I forge a path,
for those who follow –
my children and theirs.

We lived a small-town,
incestuous fishbowl
life, before the change.

As much as I would
recapture the simplicity,
nothing is ever the same.

The horizon has shifted –
former choices vacated,
sad memories remain.

Eerie desolation repels,
yet I’ve lost an essential
part of me, cannot leave.

Was it curiosity that lured
me into that seedy corner –
forced me into darkness?

Did I not see evil lurking
behind the black curtains,
deception masking as mystery?

I rage for what was taken,
strike out against injustice,
cry vainly for innocence lost.

My daughter, myself,
stripped, shamed,
dishonoured, for what?

Sexual gratification?
Exploitation and profit?
Is nothing sacred?

We lie to ourselves –
we women – born to
appease – disillusioned.

Abandon our birthright,
are marketed, consumed,
objectified, souls shattered.

I rage against the inequity,
plead for common sense
to save them – my daughters.

From the hell I’ve lived,
from patriarchy’s treachery,
from the hurt I’ve inflicted.

I’ve forged a path for none
to follow, pray they choose
another, brighter way.