What’s your history?

Adam and Eve’s tale
created a history.
Two genders. Two roles.
From prehistoric eras
came seminal works,
histrionic characters
assigned to mankind.
Hissy fits to machismo.
Words whimpered wrongly,
like hysterical mis-spelled.
Time now to accept
the herculean tough task.
Too often not heard
unless we are herd, enmasse.
Cherish who we are.
Do not say female or male,
women versus men.
We shall march a million strong,
support each other.
Our bodies, our minds, our love.
Together we can, we will.


Gayle hosts dVerse today and asks us to write a CHOKA: an unrhymed poem with lines that alternate 5 and 7 syllables, ending with two 7 syllable lines. A new form for me…and quite a challenge to make the sense of the poem be the reader’s main focus rather than the framework of the 5-7-5-7-5-etc-7-7 syllable requirement. Bar opens at 3 PM Boston time.
Two explanatory notes for the poem: 1) I’ve always been interested in semantics and the power of language; applauding the movement to more inclusive language as in “fire fighter” rather than “fireman” and “work hours” rather than “man hours.” Many changes like these have concretized in our language over the years and, I believe, affected perception. This poem looks at the place of gender specific words within words. Note the italics. There are many many more one could use. I find it an interesting exercise. 2) Jan 21, 2016 is the Women’s March on Washington with simultaneous similar events around the country. My daughter and I shall attend the one in Boston. Hence the reference at the end of the poem. I should add ,persons of both gender/sex are highly encouraged to attend these events!

34 thoughts on “What’s your history?

  1. Grace January 5, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    I will march with you in spirit and thoughts~ Together we can all make a difference ~ Hope it turns out to be peaceful and productive ~

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 5, 2017 / 12:50 pm

      That’s exactly my hopes. I think throughout the next four years, voices will need to be raised periodically – voices of both genders, many ethnicities and many socioeconomic backgrounds. In some ways, I feel like it’s a throwback to the sixties except with social media and 24/7 news cycles and fake news added.


  2. Bodhirose January 5, 2017 / 3:15 pm

    Lillian, I loved how you came to merge the sexes as your poem went on. We do have to be mindful of semantics and how the effects are far-reaching. I will be with you in spirit as you and your daughter add your support in Boston. Happy New Year my friend! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 5, 2017 / 4:13 pm

      Exactly….we shall all meld 🙂 We can all meld. We should all meld.
      In terms of semantics — it’s the power of words. As I used to say to my two children when they were 2 and 3 and would go into those high pitched little screams when they were upset, “use your words.” A wise lesson for all. Will carry you with me in Boston! Here’s to a healthy 2017 for all 🙂


  3. kim881 January 5, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    I love the way you’ve experimented with words in this poem, Lillian, and agree with the thoughts behind it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) January 5, 2017 / 3:28 pm

    This is wonderful.. and though those changes seem seem strange at the beginning… after a while they are natural… in Sweden we have started to use a new word that can mean both he and she.. and I have ceased to react to its use… and it does make a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bryan Ens January 5, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    I’d have to say, “Herrah! to this!! Clever plays on words throughout!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 5, 2017 / 4:14 pm

      Ah….a superb comment, my friend! You’re in the spirit 🙂


      • Bryan Ens January 6, 2017 / 11:27 am

        just a thought…I realized, based on your word-play logic, that if roosters laid eggs in stead of hens, an egg would not have a shell…it would have a hell. Makes perfect sense to me! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Carol J Forrester January 5, 2017 / 4:34 pm

    This is one of those poems that you spot more things the more you read it. I really like where you took the prompt and you created such a strong, positive message.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 5, 2017 / 4:37 pm

      Many thanks, Carol. Lanugage is indeed powerful, right? 🙂


  7. Glenn Buttkus January 5, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    I have been a feminist-mined fellow all of my days. I loved your poem & message, & could not be bothered to decipher the bones of the form. I applaud your feelings & support your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 5, 2017 / 5:32 pm

      Ah….somehow I knew you would be there with us, Glenn! 🙂 Glad you enjoyed this one.

      “bones of the form” — good way of wording it.


  8. Misky January 6, 2017 / 6:36 am

    I love your optimism and determination, and the poem is quite uplifting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 6, 2017 / 6:55 am

      Thanks — always good to hand out positive thoughts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Kathy Reed January 6, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    Very nice thoughts here as we progress in our understanding and empathy of others 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 7, 2017 / 11:56 am

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment here. Much appreciated!


    • lillian January 7, 2017 / 11:57 am

      Thank you! So glad you enjoyed.


  10. Laura Bloomsbury January 7, 2017 / 8:21 am

    “Hissy fits to machismo.” 🙂 I love the cleverness of your words Lilian though I disagree with the sentiment – feminists I believe lost their way by tying themselves up in semantics and now we ignore differences and have become a grey multitude rather than a rainbow – not to mention the trend for implanted women!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 7, 2017 / 8:46 am

      Glad you enjoyed the poem!
      Well, the underlying sentiment is to recognize the power of language (fire fighter vs fireman), as I dig in humorously finding gender embedded in many many words. I continue to believe that.
      And I do believe, in the face of today’s political morass that now is the time to make our voices known. There is danger in apathy, now more than ever. And the call to action is for everyone.


      • Laura Bloomsbury January 7, 2017 / 8:56 am

        we feminists never bitch(!) amongst ourselves Lilian 😉 – the big issues are in the bigger picture and I worry as well as to what has become of men

        Liked by 1 person

  11. paulscribbles January 7, 2017 / 11:17 am

    Wonderful wordplay. As a feminist I’m with you all the way but sadly as I can’t time travel yet I wont be able to make Jan 21st 2016 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 7, 2017 / 11:53 am

      Glad you enjoyed, Paul. I’ll take you along virtually! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. petrujviljoen January 8, 2017 / 3:54 pm

    Fantastic. This is exactly what I’m about. I once did a poem about this subject and the descriptions of male/female in both the Oxford Reference Dictionary and the Roget’s Thesaurus are debilitating to women. I remember ‘he’ has a soul while no such honour is ascribed to the feminine. Man I can get mad!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian January 9, 2017 / 7:26 am

      The power of language is not to be underestimated.


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