Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Putting On Her Walking Boots

[image from google: libraryfortheartist.blogspot.com]


There was a free spirit
living inside her
but, raised in small-town
conservative
1960's Kelowna,
fed on a diet
of 1950's dreams,
she didnt know
about her
till she clawed
her way out,
some disillusioned
years later.

To the newspaper editor,
the magazine publisher,
the offer of free university,
or training to be
a missionary in Africa,
she said, primly,
"No, thanks,
I just want
to get married
and have babies."
She thought of it
as an escape,
had no idea
she was entering
a cage
from which
her entire psyche
would recoil,
no clue how long
it would take
to tunnel her way out,
no concept how difficult
that excavation
of the self
would be.

It was the culture
of the times;
she lived
just on the cusp
of change.

In the cities,
the times were a-changing,
rebellion and foment
was in the air.
The hippies were
growing their long hair,
burning incense,
playing cool music,
growing beards,
smiling moony smiles.
The Women's Movement
was on the rise.
Another five minutes,
and she would have been
in the thick of it.

But by the time
the beautiful hippies
were grooving
up and down 4th Avenue,
she was pushing
a buggy full of babies
along 3rd,
a parallel universe
just one block down,
trapped in
a  marriage
that so choked
her spirit,
she did not write
one word
for eight long years.

Impaled upon
her marriage,
her spirit was giving
its death rattle
by the time she heard
the "click"
of the Feminine Mystique,
gasped with recognition
and relief
at the words
of Gloria Steinem
and Ms Magazine,
began to see light
through the bars
of her cage.

She epitomized
the silencing
of women's voices
and creativity
when they are
oppressed,
and also
the rising
of one's spirit to
reclaim one's life,
one's voice,
one's art,
when one begins
to apprehend
the cost
is just too high
to be paid.

He sneered
"we were all right
till you started
thinking
you were a person",
kicking over a stack
of Ms magazines.
"You were all right"
she replied.
"Yeah. And I could be again
if you'd just keep quiet."

She put on a pair
of metaphorical red boots,
sang "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'"
and "Hit the Road, Jack", often,
and robustly.
Soon it was done.

She took her first walk
as a free person
through the fall leaves of
Vancouver's West End.
It was 1972,
and she was
right on time.

7 comments:

  1. this is inspiring i love it Sherry

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  2. Sistas are doin' it for themselves! Love it.

    Maybe because I've got some bug or other, I had a wild dream last night, that ties in with this. I dreamed that I woke up in the hospital with a broken leg and no memory of the the car accident they said caused it. But the weird part is, I was in some other woman's body and life! Her husband was nice and all, and trying to help, but i was all "back off, jack!" lol. And she had two teenage kids and I liked them but they weren't mine and i was all worried about scarring their psyches by not knowing them and all that. Anyway, I kept trying to tell the doctors and cops that I was me, not this chick, but they thought I was crazy. Plus, I was frantic that no one was taking care of Bosco! The good part was that this gal was younger, slimmer and cuter than me, and I thought, well, maybe it isn't ALL bad! lol @ me. Talk about being in the wrong life!

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  3. Sherry it gave me chills when I read it. It is also my story, and the story of so many other women! You have told it so wonderfully! I think it is magic! I love it!

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  4. Sherry, Powerful, powerful personal story. You are one strong woman, mother, and writer. Get this out in a mag there are still so many woman trapped in a cage.
    I loved so many lines in here with this one catching me the most:
    she didnt know
    about her
    till she clawed
    her way out,
    some disillusioned
    years later.

    Oh the post of mine that goes nowhere is coming out this weekend. I hit the wrong by accident. opps :)

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  5. Wow, Sherry!
    You turned a huge, life-changing, shared-by-many story into an amazingly pleasurable to read, tight, concise piece of poetry.
    You are good!

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  6. I've read all these new poems, Sherry, several times each, and you seem to have found a new, stronger voice, a howl perhaps lent to you from the spirit world of wolves, which echoes far south, over the plains of Africa.

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  7. It's important that you geared up well when traveling. This will put you at ease and give you comfort while on the road.

    ReplyDelete

I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!