The Meeting

Petunia007
Posted April 11, 2013 from Nigeria

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!

Comments 9

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  • Kim Crane
    Apr 11, 2013
    Apr 11, 2013

    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

  • Petunia007
    Apr 11, 2013
    Apr 11, 2013

    I'm deeply honoured! I'm glad the poem was able to evoke those strong emotions. Thanks for reading.

  • Aminah
    Apr 13, 2013
    Apr 13, 2013

    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

  • Petunia007
    Apr 14, 2013
    Apr 14, 2013

    Thanks so much!

  • CynthiaM
    Apr 23, 2013
    Apr 23, 2013

    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.

  • Petunia007
    May 13, 2013
    May 13, 2013

    Thanks for reading. Indeed, we are all human.

  • LeenieT
    May 12, 2013
    May 12, 2013

    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

  • Petunia007
    May 13, 2013
    May 13, 2013

    Lena, thanks for your encouraging words.

  • LisaXi
    May 14, 2013
    May 14, 2013

    Amazing story telling of the power of women's voices rising in a chorus of No. So moving. Thank you for sharing.