A Woman’s Story is Told

“When a woman tells the truth,
she is creating the possibility
for more truth around her”
– Adrienne Rich

But all our wants by wit may be supply’d,
And art makes up, what fortune has deny’d.”
– From Philomela’s story in Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” (Book VI, in translation)

Any time a woman’s story is told,
There’s a struggle of old.

Often first she cannot tell –
Her story a blank, a muted bell.

She hears its inward tone,
Caged behind her breastbone

Every sigh a strain,
Speaking hardly seems sane.

She binds it to her shoe-soles
Walking on staccato coals,

Stepping with her burden,
A story unheard – and

She passes it from fist to fist
Seeking to grasp the gist,

Truly to hold it for herself,
Weaving it with stealth.

A woman finds a breaking point
And with her life out-of-joint,

Needing a compass to hold,
Daydreaming of being bold,

She hurls her story to the breeze
To let it blow about and seed,

Asking what fruits will grow,
Going with its unique flow.

She coaxes it from its envelope
Gaining paper cuts and hope

A half-written, double-edged thing
And then she lets it sing.
Her story is at once
A monument, a healing wound
A call to arms, a peace treaty
A prayer for inner children,
A blazing branch, an heirloom,
A letter to her daughter…

Stitches of the woman’s words
Fly as migratory birds

Through the cloth from here to there,
A story now said somewhere.

Any time a woman’s story is told,
There’s this struggle of old:

Listen for it in the moving spaces
Decipher with your touch its traces.

© Anna Morvern, 2017