NOTED IN THE WORDS OF ANCIENT WOMEN POETS: Poetry Festival in celebration of International Women’s by Luso Mnthali
Noted in the words of ancient women poets
Fertile voices that crack with forgotten malice
And easily remembered laments
These are noted in the timbre and the tone,
In the musicality and notes of poets,
That breathe and beat life into old lies
Until they are true.
Who made you they seem to be asking,
What did you see when they did so?
There are wooden floors that would steal heat in winter
When summer’s breath has wandered to the other side of the world
Where you would follow if you knew an American loved you, perhaps.
Yet here you sit at the feet of a fey man a gay man who
Gave you accomplished children
Yet not happiness.
In religion you sought a way out,
A religion that welcomes converts quickly
But no way out.
We are all converts here, convicts under a son that sentences
And harsher sentences than African and Asian and brown suns I’ve never known
For any women.
So we seek ways out in a musical calibration.
We would sing into the mouths of newborn girls
That to talk of our being female and clean is to talk heresy,
So sing only of the purity of flowers.
Of jasmine and weddings and smiles into new husbands’ faces.
Can I not be my own husband just as a bald man can be his own wife?
Can I not throw my shackles upon the fire
And re-create a funeral pyre for the women who bought cages with their own freedom?
These ancient women poets collect clay pots at the river and do not drown
Yet their voices often disappear
Because the men’s shouts down river are strong and clear and
Oftentimes do not drown, yet are caught in the act of drowning the women,
And the women weep, in voices that sink to the bottom.
I am a Malawian woman living in Cape Town. I'm a writer - of poetry, short stories and articles for women's magazines. My niche is African women, and African pop culture. I am most interested in uplifting and empowering African women and girls, and know that this is the way to uplift the entire continent.