where the writers are

Jeanne Powell 
© March 2008 

(for all of us) 


remember that time, long ago and far away

yesterday and still today

there was this woman

she harvested crops after planting and tending the seeds

 wove cloth from yarn she spun, and made clothes by hand

that woman carried the burden of seed implanted for nine full months

gave birth on her knees over a blanket of leaves

gave birth on a dirt floor, or under a tree

by the shores of a raging river too dangerous to cross

gave birth in a desert oasis at night

gave birth on the fields of war as well as peace

gave birth when hope was alive

and during winter’s frozen fears.

that woman gave birth to art painted on walls while

stranded in ancient caves with children

gave birth to clever traps for hunting Stone Age prey

wielded a club to keep masculine predators at bay

that woman carried grief as gamely

as she carried her offspring and tools and male violence

until she could discern a better way.

she wore woven grass in rain forests

long dresses in temples of the Gods

fur pelts in northern winters

and nothing at all on islands deep in the Pacific womb

until belief in a solitary male god dressed this woman in shrouds of pain

pain she wore as a scourge from another world

deprived of her birthright, she stormwalked

through the blood of women already sacrificed.

that woman, any woman, every woman

she was 14 and sold into slavery

she was 16 and fought on ancient battlefields

she was 20 and worked as a blacksmith

she was 30 and burned at the stake

she was 40 and revered as a wise one

she was 50 alone and homeless

she was 60 and ran for president...


the second half of this poem

may be found in

WORD DANCING (collection of poetry, prose and art)

by Jeanne Powell