Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Born A Woman


Kids, our wonderful Kim Nelson at Verse First has set us a prompt of writing in honor of women for International Women's Day. A few of you may have read this poem, which I wrote for International Women's Day last year. I didn't think I could say it any better, and am still recuperating from surgery, so I hope you will forgive me for posting a repeat. Be sure to check out the links at Verse First - you'll find some other wonderful poems written in honor of women.

The photo is of my wonderful and inspiring grandma, Florence Fitzsimmons Marr, and her horse Monte. She was the first girl in her farming area to ride horseback for pleasure. You can spot a wagon wheel in the background - no cars back then! Her father worked building the first national railroad in upper Montana, and my grandma remembered seeing ruts in the land, as a girl, where covered wagons had passed through. 

My grandma is one reason I am glad to have been born a woman.


When you think you have 
already faltered
under the load
you have carried
for so long,
and life brings you another 
encumbrance
to add to
your heavy burden:
dig deep.
You are stronger
than you know.

You have done
one of the hardest things:
had your body split in two
to bring forth your children
and, after that, you would
walk into the fire
or lay your life down
to protect them.

When you are trying to herd your chicks
safely past the hungry wolves
slavering in the forest
and they start running and flapping
straight into danger,
stay calm!
Race after them, and 
snatch them back;
set them on the path
yet again.
Repeat this
until they arrive at
the age of reason.
Then comes the hard part:
you have to let them go
and watch them flounder 
      and flop
          and fall
as they attempt to fly.

When you refrain from crying
because there are not enough tears
in the world
to shed for all that has befallen you,
go walk beside the river.
Hug a moss-covered tree
and let the river's song
wash the pain away.
Let the tree 
speak to you
about Endurance
and Simply Being.
There are times
when it is all right
Just to Breathe.

When you marvel
at the heart's capacity
to break
and then to heal,
to open itself once again
to trust,
reflect upon
how a broken heart still beats
and how all blind things
turn towards the sun,
seeking the light
even through their sightless eyes.

When you look back 
at the journey
of broken dreams, lost love
and pain,
marvel at the way
one can take the batter 
of this lumpy and mixed-up life,
all the wrong ingredients,
too much beating,
rancid flour
and still wind up with
a pretty good cake.

It's because you're a Woman,
and women may kvetch and complain
but, while they're doing it,
they're rolling up their sleeves
and starting to do the work,
because it's there to do,
and someone has to get up
every morning
and feed the children.

I see you, grandmothers of Africa,
looking after fourteen orphaned grandchildren.
I see you, mothers of Mumbai,
pressing red spots on your daughters' foreheads.
I see you, First Nations mothers,
living in imposed poverty,
trying to teach your daughters
the Old Ways
so they wont be lost.

I see you, Mother Wolf,
trying to get your babies grown
in the wild and dangerous woods.

I see you, Girl Child,
assaulted in the dark of night
and wearing the shame,
instead of the perpetrator.
(It is Not Your Fault!)

I see you, girl and woman,
told your whole life
that you are Not Worthy,
and I want to tell you:
Not only are you  Worthy,
you are a miracle of fortitude 
and Keeping On.
You are a song of survival 
and transformation,
and your shine lights up the path
of those who come behind you.

Sing out, you grandmothers
and mothers and daughters
and sisters and wives and lovers
and single aunts.
Sing out and say,
though the way 
may often be hard:
I'm glad that I was
born a woman.

25 comments:

  1. You always inspire me Sherry!....I am woman hear me roar!...:-)

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  2. This is SO good! Both the photo and the poem are true master-pieces!

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  3. So good, I stole it to print and hang on my inspiration board, Sherry! (But only for personal use, and I am asking permission after the fact...)
    You make me proud of my gender. As always.

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  4. ...a miracle of fortitude

    Love the image of Florence and her Monte. Amazing words to go with it!

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  5. This is amazing, Sherry. If you use it for Women's Day every year, it will never grow old. The wisdom of the ages and of the new century can be found in it.
    Take good care of post-surgical yourself. Now I, the childless aunt, must phone my niece who has also had surgery.
    Luv, K

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  6. dig deep.
    You are stronger
    than you know.

    I love these lines. Powerful and true and the poem is full of well versed warmth and power.

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  7. Indeed! Women are under valued! Keep being the Wild Woman!

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  8. This is a lovely tribute to women.

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  9. I'm with Kay - post every year darling Sherry, every year, please. It is just perfect. And I am picturing you, Wild Wolf Woman, with these words, these pieces of your soul, pouring out of your fingers into our worlds
    ...
    I hope you are minding yourself, or that someone loving is minding you, and that you heal well and soon.

    God bless, wonderful Woman :) xxxxxxxxx

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  10. This is wonderful, Sherry. You are so fortunate to have had the grandmother you had. She was definitely an example to follow, a woman ahead of her time.

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  11. ...this is very inspiring Sherry... every words you penned here are felt and rich in wisdom that can last for ages and perhaps forever... i'm glad you brought this back again or i wouldn't realize how lucky i am today to have witnessed and read this beautiful piece... i am deeply impressed... excellent... smiles...

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  12. glad you brought it back - really enjoyed it

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  13. This is an absolute masterpiece, so full of wisdom and inspiration. We are stronger than we know. Just beautiful sherry.

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  14. Sherry,

    An amazing piece which has embraced about all that there is to capture about the roles of women...Inspirational words Sherry, which I am not suprised to find flowing from your pen. You are an inspiring women, who remains so cheery, focused and hardworking, in spite of the ups and downs passing by you in life:)
    I am not surprised that your grandmother may have passed her spirit on to you...
    Very intersting to note, that my paternal grandfather had a brother who left Ireland to live, work and die in Bute, Montana. A dreadful life, judging by letters sent home to his family by a friend.
    Thinking of you Sherry,
    Best Wishes,
    Eileen:)

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  15. Beautiful. Made the hair on my arms stand up. Such wisdom and grit come through this poem.

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  16. this is a wonderful piece sherry! have me goosebumps...i loved the pic of reality, hopes and dreams painted here. Amen! to every word wished.

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  17. This is an amazing, brilliant poem. I love it and was moved to tears. Thank you.

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  18. Only you .. Could have given the gift of this poem! I am on the road, a few minutes to check my favorite poets!

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  19. I finished reading the very first stanza and heard myself say, "I love this one already."
    LOVE. This Poem. (and its author)

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  20. I was captivated from the first two lines and I couldn'tbreak away for a second

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  21. What a wonderful poem, and I just love the photo of your grandma! Thank you for your comments on my poetry :)

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  22. Some things can bear repeating - and this demands it!
    I hope you are recovering well from the surgery.

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  23. Inspiring words reminds me of the incredible women in my life!

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  24. I have missed a few days of your blogging. Am caching up and feel fortunate not have missed this one. It's beautiful Sherry. It sounds like a march of strength for women of the world. I'm glad to one too.

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  25. I'm glad I scrolled down and saw this, Sherry. I remember this from last year and reading about your grandmother...I love it. I reposted mine too. Thank God I was born a woman too!

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