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!