We are a patriarchal society,
our language too often is male dominant.
Male designations within professions:
fireman, policeman, chairman.
Finally adjusted over recent years,
fire fighter, police officer, chair person.
But the very basic words to describe me,
to describe those of you like me,
remain, however subtly, patriarchal.
They contain the male
as if we cannot stand alone,
be independent as ourselves.
We are a woMAN, a sHE.
We are woMEN, feMALES.
And even as we age,
we face MENopause.
Are we not important
As long as our bodies exist,
all huMANs bear testament
to the power of their mother,
the ultimate her.
Not MANifest in huMANity,
but etched upon us as we entered the world,
our most basic connection to her.
That impression upon our belly
evidence of her supreme power,
the miracle of birthing.
Place your hand upon your belly.
Do it now as you read. Do it.
Do you understand?
You are forever connected to her.
This connection, too miraculous
to be mundanely called a navel,
worse yet, a belly button.
Scientifically it is the umbilicus,
but that term bears no reference to her.
Long after she passes to another place
her presence remains with us.
Umbilicus or mumbilicus?
Place your hand upon your belly and you decide.
And when you miss her most,
know she is always there with you.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Merril asks us to write a poem about connections. Image: Pregnant Woman by Edgar Degas, cast in 1920, on display at the Met on Fifth Avenue, in gallery 814. Image is in public domain.
** I’ve been interested in the herstory of language and its power to affect change for many years.