Tuesday, July 7, 2009

footnotes (11)


woman is a footnote to history.
in her life are explained its passages;
from her womb come forth the makers

of event & ritual
of heroic deed & mischief
of gods & common men

she is the tie that binds culture
to generation after generation.
(blest be the tie that binds!)

modern mother africa
why suffer yr daughter so?

make her the mule bearing on her
back the burden of

yr malnourished children
yr chronic misforture
yr aborted dreams?

make her the drudge & menial
tending from cockcrow to sundown

yr faltering fires
yr niggardly provisions
u soul-killing labor?

make her choose shamelessly between

harlotry & starvation
harlotry & ignorance
harlotry & oblivion?

modern mother africa
it is yet through the eyes of art that we see
yr daughter’s beauty, her inexhaustible
strength, her courage & nobility.

can’t u

pamper her, a little?
adorn her from yr
hidden stores; spoil her
with a touch of kindness?

can’t u

reward her for her efforts,
help her find fulfillment;
prepare her for happiness?

how life now from day to day mirrors
only the

follies & misdeeds of yr sons,
the abuses of yr foreign consorts;
yr own helpless indifference.

what manner of mother will she make?
what manner of culture will pass through
her words & doings?

when the finger of history moves,
recording this era on the ruins of time

she will yet be there
as will her children

to footnote its cryptic & incredulous script!

© Joseph McNair;2009

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