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Monday, March 05, 2007

Poem for the day

Purdah

A woman kept in a house
is like a cuckoo in a clock.
Her breasts sing with milk
in the middle of the night.

All night the house blows
in the wind, a cradle
on top of a tall tree
or a ship lost at sea.

A man thinks he owns his wife
if she stays in the house
but once she shuts the door behind her
shuts the door on her children behind her
if she shuts the door of her mind
she can fly,
no longer under lock and key.

A mother alone in the house
is like a cat in a cage with two birds,
alone in the house with two children,
in the house without wings.

Her two breasts, two small partridges
rustle in their nest, escape
like two cups overturned,
two loose dice on the floor,
two blind mice running to get the knife.

At night the house does not rock
like a boat at sea.
It is rooted, stands still
like a woman chained to a rock
awaiting rescue, like a cage
rocking on its pole.

The dangerous woman in the veil
sings to the women in the moon
she sings to the old woman in the shoe,
she sings to a woman
in anything else, besides a house.

from "Little Mother"
(Hochelaga Press, Montreal, 1997)

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