Mother sits beside the black earthen pot
Fanning the dead embers to life
The wet wood hisses
A furl of smoke rises

There she sits day and night
Toiling, breaking not
Even as the burdens weigh
Tears trickle in two streams
Down a face lined by time
My daughters will be somebody
Ringing singing shall their voices be
Her tired chords sing

I stand by the white coffin
There she lay still
Go on the hilltops
Shout it to the world
Were her last words
Haunt you I will
If you keep mute
And she crossed over
To that place of undying sunshine

They all sit around the table
Watching with fearful eyes
Who has heard of such a taboo!
A woman speaking in public
We shall be scorned
Driven like stray fowls
Out of the yard
But even birds of the forest
Have a nest
I say to them
They fly high and far
But they finally reach home
We too shall find

Some leave with heads
Sunken deep in their chests
They can't meet our eyes
We are seated around the table
Our pulses beating in unity
We shall stab the silence

Blood we shed not
A war without guns
Our words the weapons we wield
In one voice
We shouted NO!

Pushed into the bush path at night
Bruised and broken, NO!
Burnt with a pressing iron
Chest oozing painful oils, NO!
Locked indoors the property of one
No life of your own, NO!

There came a silence
More profound than noise
Their unseeing eyes looked
Their blocked ears listened
Their clenched fists loosened
In one voice they proclaimed:
You too are human
Woman, you are free!

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And you could be a general!

I have chills on the back of my arms reading your poem and imagining generations of women patiently, methodically working, dreaming, and striving towards the moment when their daughters finally stand up and shout No! to cultural gatekeepers, assert their worth and humanity, and eventually change history.

This is now one of my favorite poems. Thank you for sharing it.

Kim

I saw in my grandmother's eyes something similar to that cry for freedom I saw in my mothers eyes the wish for her daughter to succeed in life, in a man's kingdom I saw in their action, their movements, their courage, their hard work, nothing random I saw and heard their silent protests against their men, leading me to reach for czardom

Keep writing more. You have a gift of writing and inspiring others.

Regards, Aminah

Salaam Aminah

Simply superb..."The Meeting" has already began and the proclamation shall be re-echoed all through posterity: "you too are human; woman you are free".

Cynthia.

This poem is a remarkably powerful testament of the legacy left for us by the amazing women who came before us, and the power we have to ensure that the girls of the future are free.

This is an extraordinary poem, it will stay forever with me.

Thank you,

Lena