Thursday, 28 August 2014

Woman, I miss you

I must confess,
 I miss you
The woman who’s children hid under petticoats
While others hid behind her skirt while she worked
Oh how she would flail her arms about 
In a bid to stop this hide and seek under her skirt
Full of love and a hearty laughter that filled the air 
As the kids scattered to find joy elsewhere

I miss watching the woman with a strong back
Bent over her kitchen table ironing her skirt
Carefully she’d press the skirt pleat for pleat
Humming a song until all would lie immaculately
One on top of the other, soldiers awaiting a call.
I miss the way her skirts would dance around her knees
With each stride seeming to sing a song that said,
“Here I am,”
Knees that were bruised not by the glass bottles 
She’d accidentally fell on in the beer halls
Not by the heel broken on the pavement as she staggered ‘out the club”
But by the prayers she would send to heaven day and night over her husband in exile
Bruised by the days she spent mopping and polishing her enemy’s veranda
Humming yet another tune prayerfully

She is the mother who gave up her father, husband, 
Her sons and daughters to buy us our freedom
The woman who would leave her house in the dead of the night
Kissing her sleeping children good bye 
Deliberately breathing in the same air they breathed
Because out there was no way of knowing if it were their last
Day by day she would play mother to her oppressor’s children
Feeding, giving, grooming, loving
Holding them tenderly to her breast 
While their father busied himself hunting 
Her innocent brothers down like animals
And all the while praying
Praying silently for the day she’d see her sons and daughters again

Show me again these mothers and daughters who sang, “Freedom”
Women whose skirts sang in unison as they marched the streets
Mothers who worked the field to feed a village
Women who raised their skirts to their knees to fight for education
I long to see those women who tell her daughters that education is the key,
Who remind them of their capabilities as young women
That beauty is not a vice and dignity should be a compass
Yet strength can be found in compassion and tears are meant to roll away
Mothers who tell their daughters
That the secret to all these lies within a woman’s ability to love
To clothe her neighbour’s child in the same sack her child wears
That shoes are made for walking and voices to heard
 These are the women who did not have to wear pants to change the world
The African women who walked far and wide, united to the Union buildings
These are the women who did not adapt male behaviour 
To make the world sit up and take note
But instead their voices thundered to the ends of the world
The women whose selfies were mirrored from the policeman’s shield
 Women who were beaten, humiliated, tried but never broken
These are women who in trials sang louder, much louder
The songs they sang gave us freedom, our voice

Will somebody show me their young women
Young women who wear their skirts with pride
And not those who raise their skirts to get 100 likes
Girls who know that the gap between their thighs
Cannot be sold to buy get aways, get ups and gadgets
Young ladies who understand that their charms are 
Meant to build unions not tear down homes
And dethrone Pastors from their calling
Can somebody call the young woman who wears her skirt like a crown
Whose stride cannot be broken by futile promises of sweet nothingness
Lovers blind to race and not those whose love is a race
To the biggest bank balance
The lady who looks upon the world and it looks back at her nods
This is the lady tomorrow rests on
Whose cry is not a cry of fear but a cry of faith sealed

Oh how I miss that woman
She walked around in hope abound
African pride gleaming from her shoulders
Faith the soles of her shoes and peace her favourite tune
The very beat that could be heard from the bosom cried,
“God with us,”
Even through the darkest nights her song could be heard
Beautiful, colourful woman of her time
A gentle genteel  woman who respects her man
 The woman is kindness
This woman is loving
She is a woman loved
This woman is love

Candy Morrow

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