Claim Thy Power

Why is it women bear the blame?
Eve, in the garden of Eden
picked fruit from that forbidden tree.
With juice dripping down her chin,
she offered its flesh to Adam.
Adam took the bite, yet bears little blame.

Persephone, stolen away by Hades,
hungers for light in the underworld.
Eats six pomegranate seeds
only to learn she, not Hades,
bears the blame
for autumn and winter’s chill.

Who writes these tales?
Codifies them into myths believed?
Ah men, they are the shapeshifters.
I call on thee to reposition these stories,
reveal the weakness of Adam
the cunning treachery of Hades.

Take up the flowers, the scepter too.
Power in the womb, provider of the world.
Power in the breast, nourishment for all.
Power in the mind, our acuity revealed.
I call on you, deny your herstory no longer.
Claim your rightful place at the table,
and it’s not in the middle of the men.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Sarah asks us to be inspired by the myth of Persephone and write a poem that is somehow related .

Persephone is the daughter of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture, fruit and grains. She was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld. Ceres searched for her, leaving the crops to fail. Zeus, king of gods and father to Persephone, intervened and ruled that if Persephone had not eaten anything in the underworld, she could return to Ceres, above ground. Persephone had eaten six pomegranate seeds. Zeus consequently allowed her to return above ground for only six months of the year, thus creating the seasons. She is above ground for spring and summer, spreading flowers and seeds. She is below ground for autumn and winter, thus causing the demise of crops, flowers, etc. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The Power of Words

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
unto ourselves?

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.