Sunday, December 18, 2011

For Real Toads: parental guidance suggested

I'm pretty sure I have no under-age blog followers or even under-age Facebook friends, but my subject today might spark a bit of indignation. I'm hoping it sparks indignation of the right kind, of course, but don't read it if you think you're going to get annoyed with me.
Robert Burns
I don't jump up and down and get real controversial about a lot of things any more except the biggies: War. Peace. Children's rights. Women's rights. Aboriginal rights. Canadian rights. Canadian children's rights. Canadian women's rights. Canadian aboriginal women's rights. Canadian aboriginal children's rights. Whales. Baby seals. Old-growth forests. Wild salmon. You know, the biggies.

This poem is in response to Kerry's mini-challenge today to the writers' group Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, using a poetic form used by one of my favorites: Robbie Burns, in his To a Mouse poem. (I love Burns and always have, with three out of four Scottish grandparents.)
Kerry also pointed us toward the Undelivered Mail poem of Rhina P. Espaillat. It is just wonderful. Do check it out.
Rhina P. Espaillat
With those two things in mind, I wrote the first line of the following poem without really thinking of very much except my headache, which has plagued me along with blurry vision for some months. (My ophthalmologist is working on it.) The second line followed more or less without thought, too, and then the whole thing was in my head demanding to be written. Demands like this can be a good thing or a bad thing for a writer. For me, headache or no headache, I have to go with it, because I'm slowly but surely emerging from a lengthy case of writer's block and will grasp at any and all opportunities if I can.

One line in my poem says "the law changed" and it did, in the 1980s in Canada, but there are still some countries where the law favors the husband. I would like to see these kinds of laws changed in favor of the wife, in all countries.

Dear sobbing, sighing, weeping sister:
Do not waste time on yon weak mister!
(He makes love a weapon against her.
Even though she says no,
Still he’ll insist and claim his pleasure
Is his right, that it’s so.)
Dear arrogant, superior male:
You are probably going to jail
Perhaps to stay there without bail.
Your wife? Yes, the law changed.
Wives are entitled to rights as well.
It’s all been rearranged.
Dear lawyer, won’t you tell the jury:
Don’t they see I was in a hurry?
I don’t know why my wife should worry
About a little sex!
She’s making such a fuss and fury
Our lives will now be wrecks.
Dear Judge: In our police department
We’ve reserved a whole compartment
For complaints against this defendant
Brought by his poor wife,
When she tries to be independent,
He threatens with a knife.


Laurie Kolp said...

I have a friend whose ex-husband used her for his little pleasures daily... while she stayed clothed and on her knees!

Mama Zen said...

Well done!

Tammy said...

Dear poem-writing sister: Amen! :)

One said...

That's a very long list of biggies. Love the rhyme... and your caption in my blog too.

I am sorry to hear of your headache. Sincerely hope it eases. Relax and breathe deeply...

Ella said...

Well done , it was smart and so sad. I hope you better; blood sugar has a lot to do with vision. Clever write for one 's rights.

Kerry O'Connor said...

This piece forced out a deep sigh: for all our advances, society is still so backward in its thinking, and the notion of rape or sexual harassment in marriage is sadly ignored by too many people. These are the issues that poets should be writing about in an effort to change perceptions from an intellectual and artistic perspective. Thank you.

Kay said...

This strikes home with me. I had a good friend who once had her foot in a cast and another time with a black eye. She said she fell down the steps the first time and bumped into the door the second time.

We didn't know until much, much later that her husband had done it. Thank goodness she divorced him and married a wonderful man many years later when she could trust again.

Rinkly Rimes said...

I wonder how we'd behave if we were the sex with all the power.... and the muscles.I think human nature is often very disappointing.

ksdoolittle said...

Quite excellent and very insightful. Good luck with your headaches!! I'm a migraine sufferer and can commiserate with you on the headache front. Have a wonderful holiday! ~karen

Anonymous said...

i divorced a divorce lawyer

vivinfrance said...

You have captured the Burns rhythm and manner of addressing inanimate (!) objects extraordinarily well. Burns was more of a "spread himself thinly" sort of guy, but he loved all his women and acknowledged all his illegitimate offspring.