Red

You can cage the singer, but not the song.
you can douse the embers, but the ashes are hot.

The dancer is still, but the dance lingers in the heart, in the mind’s eye.
the wind carries the sound of the dirge,  but the clouds see from aloft.

They weep at the sight of the children of the earth,

the broken ones, being trampled to dust.

But the raindrops carry the life-giving elixir that will cause the dust to grow
green, to flower again with a thousand seeds bursting into the air, the earth.

What price your shouts and threats, your “dishonouring” of us women?
Our honour is not so delicate that it can be sullied by your slimy touch or your rapine.

Our courage and our strength come from our veins, from the earth from whence we have sprung.

No matter, you say that you are from head or belly or thighs, we sprang from the earth,
and still, we stand on this earth, our mother.

When you are long gone, your bloodthirst slaked with fountains which sprang from living flesh, your lust wasted on skinny weak starving girls

Your strength a spent force.
We will still arise, strong, our humanity intact.
We will not disappear into the womb of the earth, but will emerge from its bowels, our veins,  our sinews surging with youth and vigour,

strong woman

You can cage the singer, but not the song.
You can douse the embers, but the ashes are hot.
Girl-cry I will cry out.

I will not be silenced.
When the nurturing womb
becomes the tomb, when
Incubator becomes Incinerator.

When the wise and the old, the healers too become agents of death.
When medical knowledge loses its way in commerce,
When surgeons’ gloves, tipped with talons, are red with our yet-unborn female blood.

I will not remain silent.
When Lakshmi – that goddess of wealth – blesses the home, the people become rich, they say. Much good may their wealth bring them, soaked in the gore of innocent unborn girls.

And Saraswathi – you white-clad one accomplished in learning –  so large your home, long your degrees, so many your cars! Their wheels leave red tracks as they roll by.

But we – we have only seen the minions of Yama descending upon us, like Sparrows on the yet-tender grains, still in the ear of ripening corn. Let the land be devastated, the fields be barren!

Let the rivers dry up, the rains cease to fall!

Parents and grandparents, doctors and nurses, lawyers and judges,
all have forgotten that their lives too, like ours are fragile and precious.
One day destined to die.

They have closed their hearts, their eyes, their ears. They think they have succeeded in shutting us off from life.
But it is they who are blind, deaf, unfeeling. Like the dead.

They may cauterise their consciences, but we – our spirits – yet hover over the land, block out the sky.
Here’s news: we still live! Our spirits gather, hover, waiting, over the land.

And One day our mourning will break.
Our unshed tears, from unformed eyes, will fall in salty torrents from the sky.

Engulf them in a quagmire of their own making.
So till that day comes, mercy will endure for them,

and I Will still cry my soundless cry, from unformed throat:
“No, no, let us live, so you too may live!”
I will not be silenced.

By Cynthia Stephen

Cynthia Stephen is an independent Writer and Researcher

cynstepin@gmail.com

Tagged abuse of womenstrong womenviolence against womenwomen abusewomen empowerment


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