Womens poems

Pre partum- Post partum

I remember the slow progress

over uneven snowy road stopping at times

When I became too punctured by the pain

Screaming again and again

“Get it out of me!”

And never the same, though I tried ‘letting go.’

And few explain that torturous cruelty

ahead of you in that miracle of birth -

 

Thighs shackled. Split like a divider -

Legs akimbo, quivering from the lack

of blood flow. And you? You do your best

in this distress to focus on a halo of light

Your eyes like the martyr lifted in flight -

 

Breathless, even with

breathing techniques as you beg to hunker down

but the missionary forced on you

Steel paddles plough into you as your carcass

is cranked further apart

and you spit out, “For Christ’s sake !”

 

Yes, I remember the day I disappeared

The clock stopped on the wall

as they shouted their obscenities to “Push”!

The Judas eyes avoiding me as the creature

slapped out on me, slipped like silk

on my skin. The first curdling wail

blushing the air but all mystery

drained from me

 

as the sear of a surgical scallop

sewed the uneven rack of my ripped flesh back ...                       

MtD 2018

The Scullery Maid’s Monologue: A Woman's Worth

(* The Recorder 1914)

     I heard the master say in his ‘La-di-dah’ voice

     “Nowhere’s safe from this purple, white

     and green brigade who demand their equality!”

     As he read out loud how

     a rowdy crowd caused a lively scene

     at Palmers Green.

                               

     When men threw flour and eggs

     at them Suffragette’s!* And how that Mr. Goulden

     and a Mr.Prout were roughed up

     and routed out...Chased by lads on bicycles

     from ‘The Triangle’ right down to

     The Fox taverns’ tram!

                       

      And Gawd bless us if a woman wasn’t manhandled

      and her pamphlet torn up too!Then

      the mistress gives the master

      an awful earful at how the meek wife

      and Suffragist mother

      are forced to crime

 

      because Asquith’s government who refuse

      women the vote! She says his nibs

      “ ...must not come home

      until you’ve spoken out in Parliament!”

      And being the progressive lady

      says how she differs from the late queen

 

       who thought all suffragette’s were

       hateful heathens who’d perish without

       a man’s protectiveness. That 1914

       is the modern age where women

       will prove their effectiveness

       against the tyranny attitude

                             

       that politics is a male preserve

       and domesticity deservedly feminine -

       though all agreed that in society

       a woman’s worth only improves

       when men go to the battlefield!

 

        Then she tells of brave Mrs. Mary Clarke.

        Youngest of that Pankhurst family

        who, force fed, ‘up an’ died the week she was

        freed from Holloway. And rests now

        poor ducks,  in our Southgate cemetery!

                           

        “Why only last year,” The mistress says,

         “Young Emily Davison was force fed,

         forty nine times!” - Forty nine times

         before she threw herself under the king’s horse!

         And now this talk that the fighting men

                            

         will get the vote but we women won’t !

         Now if I could, I would join the ‘sisterhood’

         but war needs me loyalty.

         So I’ll build me scrub muscles up -

         Ready to fight like Boudicca in deeds

         not words for this female plight

                          

         and listen to Cook’s good advice:

         To teach our boys better -

         To change the law’s letter

         And one day, have our say. 

         Hear that swish and sway of skirt

         all the way to Parliament

                                                               MTDuggan

© 2016 by Mary T Duggan

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