Monday, April 13, 2015

Sister of My Heart

karenstollznow.com


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.

20 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful poem Sherry... :D I too feel like we need a moral support in our life to help us keep going each passing day.. :)

    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.

    Loved these lines... such depth & feeling!!
    xoxo

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  2. The importance of heart blazes forth in this poem, particularly the importance of sister heart.

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  3. Sounds like an impending calamity, Sherry.. Worse that the death of the son and the feebleness of the husband. A friend is really nice at this time. I like
    Didion's "We tell each other stories in order to live" fits here so nicely.
    ..
    BTW, I'm doing taxes and am way behind here. I wrote yesterday, but got to yours, first in line lady, to be your last comment. I liked the 'taming' of the hawk in writing but poor baby, she was helpless without her hobbles after words.
    ..

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  4. Wow, Sherry! This is fantastic! I so wish I had written it. So many women risk so much to write poetry, Thank you so much fort taking part in the challenge.

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  5. I didn't know any of that so thank you. The story you tell feels so real. Surely, it must be somewhere, sometime... I'll be thinking of this for awhile. Lovely

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  6. Exquisite poem and fascinating background. And yes, Susie's poem is stunning and the story behind it both devastating and inspiring.

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  7. lovely embracing moments shared

    thanks for stopping over to read mine

    much love...

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  8. A super sweet and poignant poem, Sherry. k.

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  9. This has such an authentic human feel, Sherry--really really well done.

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  10. A very sad story which exemplifies the suffering of women and our need to communicate with each other. Thank you for the information about those words. I like how you wrote this as a letter.

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  11. What a moving poem, Sherry.

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  12. A fantastic piece Sherry.. such terseness yet brimming with sorrow.

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  13. Oh!! Sherry. You took that quote to a whole new amazing level and thank you for the notes on those words...the strength of unity in relationship of women holding one another up is so astounding. Beautiful poem!

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  14. The support of sisters is immeasurable ~ I admire the Chinese words weaving with your verses ~

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  15. This gave me chills, Sherri. Such intimacy between two people; but because of its content, I, too, feel included. So much power here... ♥

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  16. Beautiful and poignant! I also learned something new as I had never heard of 'nushu'.

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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!