Dear sister of my heart,
When we learned nushu,
in the time of foot-binding,
we vowed to be laotong forever,
and so I write to tell you
that my smallest son has died,
and the heart has gone out of my husband.
Write back to me,
before the first snows of winter.
Speak to me what is in your heart,
that I may be able
to go on living.
"We tell each other stories in order to live". Joan Didion
for Susie's prompt at Real Toads, to write a poem inspired by one of Didion's quotes.
* Nushu is the secret language women in the Hunan province of China developed, in order to communicate with each other - a written language no men could read
*laotong - a relationship of sworn sisters, providing lifelong support to women, whose lives were circumscribed in those times within their traditional roles. Source: The Guardian
Dont miss Susie's poem, The Price of Poetry, about the secret women poets of Afghanistan. It is amazing, as is the background article about what girls and women go through to write their poetry, an outlet forbidden to them in their country. They write at risk of their lives.