Her Scream Is Not Enough

This morning, with tea,
I chewed on five poems,
a young girl, a poet, a person,
shrill, screaming for her share of the peak,
is feminism still a word or did someone gender-neutralize it
for she is waving her sexuality in the scarred face of misogyny,
a scarf, a scrap of whole wheat dissent against fattened bigotry,
she will not be beaten, be raped, be used,
her breasts will not be shaped into iron bars to hold her captive,
she will knot her faith, if she pleases, as a sarong around her waist,
her silence will not be tied as prayers to the limbs of old trees,
to trade a daughter for a blessed son;

I come from a past that bore, that wept, that silently moved ahead
on paths the hems of sarees had never touched before,
I cannot write her poems,
for I found my own place in the quiet
as if tiptoeing through a darkened theatre,
through whispers, through collision, through unspoken rage,
by the time I sat with the popcorn on my knee, a macho hero
had already beaten up a dozen villains single handed,
but this battle needs more than one saviour,
it needs the visceral voice of unbridled passion,
it needs pens that will redraw front lines into curves with busts and hips;

It needs feet,
feet in red stilettos, feet wizened from paddy fields, feet calloused
from having walked too far, too long, feet refusing to stop at boundaries,
feet that part seas, feet that pave their own roads,
I cannot write these poems but I have feet,
feet that made it to the front of a line or two, feet that followed feet,
feet that tapped out their own soundless songs,
I don’t know if feminism is still a complete word in a broken world
and I know I cannot write her loud poems,
but I have feet that want to walk, to run, to dance on level ground,
and even I know, a woman, a poet, a person,
that wanting is not enough,
even her words, sharp, bold, piercing the veil,
are not enough.

Advertisements

65 thoughts on “Her Scream Is Not Enough

  1. ” don’t know if feminism is still a complete word in a broken world
    and I know I cannot write her loud poems,
    but I have feet that want to walk, to run, to dance on level ground,” Aaah…the words drop like beads of power, pledge and peace into the heart filling it up…Beautiful, Rajani.

    Like

    1. Thanks so much Sarah. I wrote it as a response I think to a lot of extremely good though high decibel poems and slam videos…and it made me wonder how me and the previous generation had reacted when we hadn’t yet found our voices.

      Like

      1. I remember reading some passages in feminist literature and having it hit me like a brick. Sometimes something still does. I think we lived in the cusp time when the change was coming about. I love that some young women aren’t taking feminism for granted. We stand to lose a great deal if they do.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Many of your previous visitors mention the power of this and it touches on equality as though that is still far from being achieved. That is the sadness that we still have to contend with together with all the other injustices we still drag with us from the dark ages for the sake of power for some and power alone.

    Like

    1. The high incidence of rape, domestic abuse, female infanticide, trafficking and workplace imbalance, just to name a few, only show on a daily basis that “equality” is simply non-existent. I think “women’s rights” itself is something that different parts of the world are fighting at quite different ends of the spectrum. Very different in each country, community and economic class.

      Like

      1. Feminism has become a dirty word in certain sections of the west at the moment. Thank you for this poem.
        Women seem to have few rights in countries of the third world and nothing seems to be changing. You must keep on speaking out and educate the girls to fight for their human rights.

        Like

  3. Oh, sweet Jesus … and other admiring oaths that go beyond my small vocabulary! YES. LOVE. Line after line highlighted the truth, I could not pick one. This one resonated: “is feminism still a word or did someone gender-neutralize it” and then the images:
    “her breasts will not be shaped into iron bars to hold her captive,
    she will knot her faith, if she pleases, as a sarong around her waist,
    her silence will not be tied as prayers to the limbs of old trees,
    to trade a daughter for a blessed son;”
    I will restrain myself before I quote your entire poem back at you. I am otherwise speechless. Sharing.

    Like

  4. I love this:

    “for she is waving her sexuality in the scarred face of misogyny,
    a scarf, a scrap of whole”

    Also these:

    “she will knot her faith, if she pleases, as a sarong around her waist”
    “it needs pens that will redraw front lines into curves with busts and hips”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Simply breath-taking … brought tears and raised my pulse … Another word I use sparingly – a ‘gorgeous” poem… and yes “it needs the visceral voice of unbridled passion” and you my dear are such a voice ringing as a clear pure marching clarion call for all. Thank you and Bravo!

    Like

  6. Very powerful. It brings out that equality is still wavering in the distance, that it is not yet achieved even in these so-called modern times. My mother worked and my father stayed home with me – back in the 50’s and 60’s that was unheard of. My father was more suited to nurturing, my mother more suited to earning money. they achieved balance in their relationship with each other, with me, and with the world around them. My mother died this past June. I miss her strength and guiding spirit dreadfully. this brought to mind all the battles she fought – and won. thank you.

    Like

  7. I absolutely love it when you write poems that make me want to run outside and start shouting every line at the top of my lungs. And this one, “her breasts will not be shaped into iron bars to hold her captive”, I would shout thrice.

    Powerful!

    Like

    1. Thanks Magaly… it was a response to a new generation of poetry…the same battles, the same angst, more loud and raw voices. A few victories are played up but the misogyny is deep rooted and pervasive sadly.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You know, I think, that I am a great admirer of your poetry. None more than this one: simultaneously so profound and so raw. I would be grabbing it fast for ‘I Wish I’d Written This;’ except that now it has already been seen by this community.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. WOW. WOW. I know how shallow this sounds but it’s my raw reaction to your words. I feel humbled by your talent and truly this is one of your best. I love your position on feminism. Made me consider that I too have feet and I can still use them. Thank you.

    Like

Leave a Thot, Leave a Poem...You've Come This Far...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s