there’s a question
I would really like to ask
since you first put pen to paper
threw your gauntlet down
set us your task
and that is:
‘How far have we come?’
Is Mary Beton grown now?
Is she married?
How many children does she have?
Did she ever get to write
the words she longed to share with us?
did she give her children words
as their inheritance, or
matching socks and freshly laundered frocks?
Did Mary Seton graduate?
Did she receive an MBA?
Did she break the glass ceiling with her high heeled shoes
and botoxed forehead, rendered expressionless
like a shop floor mannequin?
Perhaps she smiles a plastic smile
while reading us the news.
Did the sexual revolution set us free?
Free to be diseased, discarded, used?
Free to be ourselves
take risks (just like the men did)
break the rules,
get called a slut,
be wholly disregarded, ridiculed
left to grow old
with rotten rubber boobs?
There are women now in every profession
all is open to us, all
until we close our minds
and care for ‘who we should be’
instead of caring for the person
that we are:
only by attempting to do the latter
can we really see
how far we’ve come, and after all
we’ve only come
© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved
This is the last in my Virginia Woolf Trilogy
In this poem, I considered some of the questions posed by Woolf in A Room of One’s Own, and tried to imagine what the answers might be given our present-day circumstances. I believe we really have made progress. But I also believe there is much progress still to be made.
This is of course written from my perspective as a white woman growing up in a privileged environment. There are many women today who are still denied the right to education, forced into arranged marriages, who have their bodies mutilated and who are sold into slavery. For sure we have a long way still to go.
Posted for International Women’s Day 2021, whose theme is #ChooseToChallenge. Interestingly, International Women’s Day is hardly celebrated in the UK. I only found out about it when I moved to Europe. If anyone would like to venture a suggestion as to why this might be, I’d love to hear it…
I am also linking up to dVerse poets’ pub for Poetics Tuesday, where Sanaa is hosting and has called for a verse epistle.