“She Hurt” … and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

“Gender equality, equality between men and women, entails the concept that all human beings, both men and women, are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles and prejudices. Gender equality means that the different behaviour, aspirations and needs of women and men are considered, valued and favoured equally. It does not mean that women and men have to become the same, but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equity means fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities.” ABC Of Women Worker’s Rights And Gender Equality, ILO, 2000. p. 48.



The last Wednesday Writing Prompt, I Am the Answer, May 15 was a call to write about the need for girls and women to be treated as fully human with the same rights, responsibilities, and opportunities as men.   We have dramatic examples throughout the world of how whole families are pulled out of poverty when women are educated, treated with respect, and not forced into marriage and how boys and men benefit as well as girls.

mm brazfield, Paul Brookes, Irma Do, Renee Espriu, Jen Goldie, and Anjum Wasim Dar, share their observations, experiences, and pain. The ironies will not be lost on anyone, most profoundly so in mm brazfield’s poem only her and in Paul Brookes poem Liberty.  

Thanks to all these poets and special thanks to Irma, Renee, and Anjum for the added value of their illustrations. Anjum has also gifted us with the poem Lament by the Indian Poet Sahir Ludhianvi via video in Urdu. You’ll find the English translation below the video. 

Readers will note links to sites if available are included that you might visit these stellar poets. The links for contributors are always connected to their blogs or websites NOT to specific poems.

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, whether you are a beginning poet, emerging or pro.  All are welcome – encouraged – to come out and play and to share your poems on theme.


only her

you can close me off with fences

imprison my children

the tropics of virtue

you can ban me from freedom

steal my breath

you can poison my lakes

kill my volcanoes

destroy my mountains

spill all of my seas

imprison my clouds and the stars too

deny me the gods and saints

burn my trails

deny me the field

you can turn off my sun and the moon

abort my miracles and all of my flowers

certainly you can hurt me

and finish off my children

cut my eyes cut my veins and exploit my riches

you can deny me the heavenly secrets

and a simple drink of water

but you will never conquer the love of a mother

© 2019, poem (English, Spanish, Portuguese), mm brazfiled (Words Less Spoken)

Solo Ella

me puedes cerrar llenarme de bardas

encarcelar a mis hijos

los trópicos de virtud

me puedes prohibir libertad

robarme el aire

puedes envenenar mis lagos

asesinar mis volcanes

destruir mis montanas

derramar todos mis mares

aprisionar mis nubes y las estrellas también

negarme a los dioses y santos

quemar mis veredas negarme el campo

podrás apagar mi sol y la luna

abortar a mis milagros y todas mis flores

cierta mente puedes herirme y terminar

con mis hijos enyerbar mis ojos

cortar mis venas y explotar mis riquezas

podrás negarme los secretos celestiales

y un simple trago de agua

pero nunca vencerás el amor de una madre

só ela

você pode me fechar me encher de cercas

aprisionar meus filhos

os trópicos da virtude

você pode me banir da liberdade

roubar minha respiração

você pode envenenar meus lagos

mate meus vulcões

destruir minhas montanhas

derrame todos os meus mares

aprisionar minhas nuvens

e as estrelas também

negar-me aos deuses e santos

queima minhas trilhas me negam

o campo você pode desligar meu sol

o lua abortar meus milagres

e todas as minhas flores

certamente você pode me machucar

e terminar com meus filhos

meus olhos cortar minhas veias

e explorar minhas riquezas

você pode me negar os segredos celestiais

e uma simples bebida de água

mas você nunca vai conquistar

o amor de uma mãe


She Hurt

cradled in their arms her pain
gets up and swims around the room.

It swims from her head, beneath her skin,
Her skin is the yellow ocean that bleeds.

Fish rises in the sky a summer
Fish dives under the earth a winter

Her mother drips breastmilk into a cup
to feed her hurt baby.

Many hands wish to hold the pain,
Lift up the wounded body.

Wishes are wrapped in colour.
Yellow ghosts look on beside
plants ready to flower.

From Paul’s forthcoming collection Fish Strawberries

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination.)

Liberty

is a woman holding up a torch
in a harbour whilst she is not free
in certain states to have control
over her own body.

Justice

is a woman who holds the scales
blindfolded and dumb.

I am not a statues so carry the torch with my words

and clearly see my future
decided by me.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination.)

In Charge of Her Own

body.
Her womb no longer
the property of the law.

No longer cut
and shaped by knives.
between her legs

Her voice not silenced.
Her opinions not downplayed
as over emotional, unreasonable.

Sometimes she does not feel
in charge of her own body
as it changes, but reminds herself
she knows how to find the answer
to the questions her body asks.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination.)

To And Fro

the iron
over bedsheets, his shirts,
as she stands three hours

hot poker of pain
in the small of her back,
lists what else to do,

take down window nets,
wash and iron,
vax front room,
lug it upstairs for bedroom,
carpets,
hoover front room,
lug it upstairs for bedroom
carpets,
clean windows inside
to and fro,
to and fro
polish beneath knick knacks
bought on holiday,
to and fro
strip and remake beds,
make his tea,
always meat and two veg

He arrives home and says,
“What have you ever done for me?”

© 2019, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination.)

Paul Brookes, prolific Yorkshire poet

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


This Female Body – A Trijan Refrain Poem

Born into this female body
So sweet was my first cry
I should have screamed like a banshee
For no princess was I
It may not seem my role in life
But fate has lead me to this strife
It may not seem
It may not seem
My strength and persistence is rife

Born into this female body
But told it’s not my own
I primp and starve and stare blankly
And let your seed be sown
I know you think I chose this role
But I hate not having control
I know you think
I know you think
But you don’t know what’s in my soul

Born into this female body
I vote for my free will
I am more than breast, womb, booty
My voice is loud and shrill
Listen to me – I’ll not abide
It is your turn to be denied
Listen to me
Listen to me
I won’t let you push me aside

This is a new poetry form I am trying – it’s called a Trijan Refrain. I discovered it through LadyLeeManila’s blog with her poem “On My Red Bike”. I was intrigued by the repeating refrain and the rhyme and meter constraints, so decided to try it out.

Jamie Dedes at The Poet By Day, inspired the topic for this Trijan Refrain. Her challenge was to write a poem about what it would be like if women and girls were seen everywhere as “being fully human”. I don’t know if I have fully captured the scope of this challenge. I do know that women are needed to use their voices and their votes to stop the reversal of rights and advances that our foremothers worked so hard to secure for us in the United States. I also believe, that around the world, uplifting women improves their lives as well as that of their families and communities.

I have often wondered what the world would be like if women did truly rule the world, on their terms, not those stipulated by our current patriarchal society. The role of women have been erased throughout history and today, women have been reduced to the role of hidden helper, silent supporter or thing-to-be-objectified. Is it because they are afraid if we regain our power, we will show how brightly we shine and fear getting burned with our brilliance?

©️2019, words and illustration, Irma Do (I Do Run, and I do a few other things too)


The Truth of Hindsight

Hindsight is always better it is said
always invoking in me the transgressions
in my past of the egregious kind

conceived into an ethnically diverse family
curious of the differences, yet both drawn
and repelled like a moth to a flame

one of only a handful of such families
in an all-white neighborhood
though I did not distinguish it
then

my reddish skinned father and white mother
craving more but for unspoken reasons
spoken in private understanding

she from impoverished beginnings
he in accepting only European roots

agreeing upon only one thing in union
the dictates of societal norms for me
a child of the female persuasion

that marriage is best accepted sooner
than later & children are part of the
sanctioned outcome

but mind you if such an arrangement
is not a path upon which you wish to tread
then only professions of nursing
and teaching will suffice

for creativity in writing or artistic endeavor
will never sustain you in living
and you would know this
in hindsight

now in hindsight I only understand that
not everything that comes before
is better than that which
comes later

in hindsight I wish I had known that
choosing the passion of your heart
over being accepted
is what my path
Should
Have
Been

© 2019, poem and illustration (taken from Public Domain Pictures and Created as Art) Renee Espriu (Angels, My Muse & Turtle Flight and Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity With Wings / Haibun, ART, Haiku & Haiga)


Had You Been A Boy

Had you been boy we’d have called
you Jeff. I was sorry for the theft
that resulted in a nest, while her past
desires, the freedom, the joy, the
dancing, all arrested by not so gentle
a man’s theft, and repeatedly attested
to, while unpaid, unearned damages left,
a girl’s desire not to conspire to the same
mistakes, yet though a mark was left.
I am Woman, I am Strong, my mind
and body my own, lessons learned
from the nest. I harken, to my own drum,
unlike others like our mother’s, that we
will never forget, and that singularly
innocent, yet flippant remark,
“Had you been a boy.”

© 2019, Jen Goldie (Jen Goldie and Starlight and Moonbeams … and the Occasional Cat )


It’s a Girl

It’s a girl,
O’hurry put her beneath the sand
Oh, no one can stand or understand
this creature, soft and tender
I wonder why ?
when life is so grand.
Girls ,mothers daughters
sisters and wives,
Can life move on without these five?
The land of Faith The land of oil
Did they really bury their daughters
alive?
Girls are the lively spirits
of a home or castles at heights
girls are Goldilocks Cinderellas
and Snow Whites
They are Queens Ranis and First ladies
blacks or whites-
When girls are born moods are forlorn
bringing up a burden in a teacup , a storm,
Then sold tortured and finally given away
Where is a girl’s real home, to stay?
Born buried and barred,
are they really so bad
and scarred?
Girls are sweet loving and kind
I wish we would be soft tender
and caring for them in
our hearts and mind.

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

It’s her ’ and no one smiled, soon  abandoned,
just a heap of rot, despised, hated,maddened,

In many lands, born of any caste or creed,
not differentiated, nor separated just negated

cashed song composed without G Minor,
a fifteen to a forty niner, old miner, young niner

might as well dig earth, cut grass or carry bricks
face negligence, bear torture, meet injustice, get kicks

lift the latch anywhere and  find, cracks in the door
scarred traces burnt faces, signs of hot tempered rackets-

sad sorrowful echoes of screams slaps and strikes
in the tender dwellings of  fearful famished femininity-

whose chest is crammed with refrains of ugly curses
profane, drafted with hatred,unreasonable, mundane-

beauty’s blend for care, created for eternal company
stays abused, enslaved, spared not, restrained,  why?

who will cut the strings of  human bondage cruel,of
lacerant tortured, suffering, darkened, silent jewel

What was ancient unknown ignorant  and abolished
made eloquent graceful revered  and superbly sacred

current in countless fetters slowly, visibly, tabescent
is played with, raped, harassed, crushed as deficient

‘why’ is the question? life for her, made a punishment?
if disobedience be sin, hasn’t man first, set the precedent?

© 2019, poem (English and Urdu) and illustration, Anjum Wasim Dar

کویؑ مسکراہٹ نہ رہی باقی
چہرے مردہ خاموشی سے تکنے لگے

لڑکا نہیں  لڑکی  ھے

کیوں کویؑ خوشی نہ رہی باقی

چھپا دو  کہیں بھی ان نفرتوں کے ڈھیر کو
پیار کیا کرنے کو  اب  کچھ  محبت ہی نہ رہی باقی

زات عقیدہ رنگ و نسل  کے فرق کی بات نہیں
اب تو خواہش  اولاد ہی نہ رہی  باقی

اک سر  جو  راگ  سے  کٹ گیا  نغمہ فزا میں بکھر گیا
گیت بنے گا کیسے کہ دھن ہی نہ رہی باقی

انصاف نہیں غفلت و تشدد  و  دامن داغدار رھے
جینا ایسے تو کیا جینا جینے کی تمنہ ہی نہ رہی باقی

بچپن رک گیا  بڑھاپے سے زبردستی جڑ گیا اینٹیں اٹھاوؑ
گھاس  کاٹو   اپنا گھر اپنی باغبانی ہی نہ رہی باقی

کس کی چاہت کیسی عزت  کیسی رکھوالی زنجیر ہی
پڑے گی پاوؑں  میں  غلامی لکھی ھے آ زادی نہ رہی باقی

کون کاٹے گا یہ نفرت کی بیڑیاں سب کچھ تو جل گیا
الاہ کا قانون یاد نہیں کوؑلہ بنی ھے ، چمک ہی نہ رہی باقی

سوال ہیہ ھے ،یہ ظلم کیوں گناہ کیوں عزت کیوں نہیں
ماں بیٹی بہن بیوی کا مقدس رشتہ کہاں ؟ عقیدت ہی نہ رہی باقی

Lament

Woman gave birth to men
And men gave her the marketplace
To crush and trample at will
To reject and cast off at will
Woman gave birth to men…

She is weighed somewhere in dinars
And sold somewhere in bazaars
She is made to dance naked
In the courts of the debauched
She is that dishonored creature
Who is shared out between the honorable
Woman gave birth to men…..)

For men, every torment is acceptable
For a woman, even weeping is a crime
For men, there are a million beds
For a woman, there is just one pyre
For men, there is a right to every depravity
For a woman, even to live is a punishment
Woman gave birth to men……)

The customs that men created
Were given the name of rights
The burning alive of a woman
Was decreed to be sacrifice
In return for purity she was given bread
And even that was called a favour
Woman gave birth to men…..)

Woman is the destiny of the world
But she is still the one abased by fate
She bears reincarnations and prophets
But she is still the Devil’s daughter
Woman gave birth to men…..)

© Indian Poet Sahir Ludhianvi

Translation courtesy of Musical Rainbow

Find Anjum here:

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