Your definition #choosetochallenge – a poem for International Womens Day 2021

(Penned for International Womens Day 2021 ~choosetochallenge)

Choose to challenge, we have to challenge

My head bowed, heart heavy with deception,

Knowing that my daughter’s fight for equality began at her conception?

The world remains skewed, out of shape and twisted,

With acceptance being a concept reserved for the shadowed society.

Privilege the punchline at pre-Covid parties over Malbec, couscous and Brie.

Fairness, #, a face, a voice, a campaign in prose and poetry.

Integrity still on ceremony, formal, bound and gagged.

Empowerment erased, esteem encased,

Far from my acceptance, as I choke on my tea and toast, are we still here?

With media streams reports of abuse, no rights and kidnapped souls,

Scythed spirits and words washed into drains.

Why are we not challenging the continued need to promote fairness?

Why are we still fighting for acceptance and equality, within unspoken filth for the fairest?

The corruptions of decisions, vacuous collaborations, blinded to consultation,

Agendas that lasso the rising stars, in a swamp of acrid toxic masculinity.

My daughter is a lioness in this savannah of armed men,

And yet some of these men, they hunt the poachers.

My guilt.  She starts her life with sword in one hand, shield in another.

Her body, her shape, her hair, her eyes will set her back, behind her brother.

Her climb in life limited, her voice being octaves higher.

Her acceptance, her progress, her promotion links to her fashion.

The greys and browns of opportunity are still being sold as rainbows.

I’m not the only man that doesn’t fit into the stereotypes of issuing low blows.

In this issue, that still exists on every street corner in our fractured cities.

Who is the ‘Attenborough’ for my sisters?

My blinkered brothers, bastardize rationale for International Men’s Day?

Their version having as much validity as all lives matter.  Every day is our day!  

A white man and privileged I am a part of the guilty intimidation,

But never did I wave the oppressive flag, or stomach initiation.

Why are we not horrified with no opinions from women,

No creation from women, no platforms, power or guidance from women?

What challenge beyond poverty, traditions, cultures and norms?

Customs formed as tumours within books of old.

Yet these testaments cancer into echelons of opportunity,

From rice field and textile mill to the corporate club of immunity.

The glass ceiling was upgraded to steel, over the sleeping lioness.

Transparency painted over, authenticity dismantled during the night shift.

Sisters buck the trend of top heavy testosterone communal showers,

Cracked, stained, white tiles, mould on grout and stagnant water.

Exposed bias now bathing in a spa of equality?

Sadly, not when my east and west fester in my brain paradoxically.

Obsessive equality, imbalanced when not checked.

I choose to challenge those who base success on sex.

This gender-grapnel dragging too many down into the riptides of injustice.  

I choose to challenge my brothers that when your chariot breaks apart,

you leave it broken.  Use the wood and build houses for your sisters.

The ones you never sheltered.  Embrace the bleeding of your blisters.

My final challenge is to my sisters that when this weight is lifted,

And your scars are almost healed, that

not all with guns are poachers, and

you are not defined by tears.

  • For Lucy –


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