Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Born a Woman

[I found this beautiful image on Google. Shay thinks the artist is Josephine Wall.]

Kenia's challenge at Real Toads today  is to celebrate the feminine. Kenia, you are playing My Song! SO easy to sing the praises of women!!

When you think you have 
already faltered
under the load
you have carried
for so long,
and life brings you another 
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.


  1. Oh, Sherry, this is so powerful on so many bring me to tears. Thank you for your voice.

    I love the part about how all blind things turn to the light...

    Such beauty in ALL of this!

  2. This prompt was CREATED for you! Awesome ... I will read this to my daughter, my granddaughter, sisters and close friends.

  3. Oh, this piece is so strong and touching. I love the part about the tree and endurance. I can tell it came from the heart. Thanks, Sherry.

  4. This is lovely, Sherry. But do tell me when this will happen:

    "until they arrive at
    the age of reason"

    I'm still waiting for the arrival of my own.

  5. Wow... what a wonderful tribute to all women. We have been 'taught' for so long to know our place (as second best) and yet through women like you, younger women now are discovering that they have so many strengths they didn't know they had and that they are more than equal to a man.
    What a fabulous write Sherry, one of your best :)

  6. This is beyond wonderful, Sherry. As Helen said, this prompt was created for you. I can't imagine writing anything like it. That's why I usually don't read any other poems until after I've submitted by own.
    Still, I'm glad I read this. Thank you for mentioning single aunts. I was a single aunt for some of my adult life and a childless aunt for all of it. I made a sincere promise to myself to be a hands-on, there-for-them aunt, and succeeded in one or two cases.
    I don't know if I can participate in this prompt, but I can concentrate on commenting.

  7. 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...

    This sums me up rather too well.

    This is such a beautiful tribute to womanhood. I loved it Sherry.

  8. A wonderful tribute to womanhood...I smiled in pride and cried tears. I am woman.

  9. comprehensive and powerful...

  10. This needs to be sung, loudly, and by many. Softy to the little ones and louder to those older. you've written something really amazing here!

  11. Beautiful! What a sad and wonderful tribute~! All True...
    I love it Sherry, your voice rings for all of us~ This should be in a magazine! It should win an award :D

  12. Sherry, you have characterized 'woman' at her finest hour. Beautiful writing.

  13. This brought tears to my eyes, too. Yes!

  14. I think the art is by Josephine Wall.

  15. oh what a gorgeous image! and the poem is right on - we are stronger than we know. I LOVE! the stanzas and lines beginning with "I see you" - so beautiful, so compassionate...

  16. So intensely personal yet so global - this is awesome. So much I want to say, but in honesty the best response I can give is a wordless standing ovation....

  17. I knew you would create a winner for this prompt, but you exceeded my expectations! This is so gorgeous! There are too many lines I love to even mention them all! I found myself smiling and nodding and saying "Yes!" throughout reading it. Applause, applause.

  18. Cheers for this Sherry !

    This is an exceptional writing and tribute to women ~ I love it ~

  19. you are stronger than you know... it was like a refrain that kept playing while I read this whole beautiful poem. We just need to be reminded now and again!

  20. Wow, Sherry. Wow! I think your poem could well be a classic in years to come. And when it happens,I can say I said it first! It is a rich tapestry in celebration of Woman and Motherhood. You should be proud of this baby. I love every line but had to pick a favourite stanza:

    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.

    Congrats and well done, Sherry.

  21. Hi Sherry, it was bugging me that I couldn't think who this artist is, finally I found it. Her name is Josephine Wall:
    Josephine wall Lots of her pics on Google.
    I knew I ought to know it because her work is so lovely. I had thought it was Jonathon Bowser because his is pretty similar but anyway. There you are :)

  22. This should be read to little boys to understand and appreciate their female side. That there's strength and wisdom in maternal things. Good leadership derives from wisdom therefore shouldn't we look to women to redirect us men.

    Wonderful, timely, inspirational piece Sherry


  23. I love your poem Sherry and I agree with nene; I believe as well little boys should learn from the female side for in Scripture Wisdom is always referred to in the feminine form i.e., she or her, etc...I liked this poem because you showed me my mother's strength and courage to face the battles she has faced in her life; my daughter, wy wife and my sisters. This was a delightful flowing read and I do appreciate your kindness and strength to help me through this week. Thanks Sherry!!

  24. You absolutely brought tears to my heart and a pain in my chest; the beautiful pain though, that makes you feel alive and vibrant.

    I will visit you again and again. Not only because you are a fellow Canadian, not only because you are a woman, but because you speak to me, about me, for me. I have three beautiful daughters whom I would likewise like to introduce to your site.

    Keep writing, Sherry; you have a new fan in Youngstown, NY!

    Peace Always,



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