Tell a woman that, deep inside,
deep in her heart, where no one can see,
she holds the flame that lights the world.
Tell a woman that no one can ever extinguish that flame.
Not anyone, be he bigger than her, stronger than her,
faster than her, angrier than her,
drunker than her, more convinced he is right.
This flame is our secret, all women’s. We are born with it.
With this flame, we work two jobs while raising three kids,
and we give them piano lessons.
With this flame, we cross oceans
so our children can grow up strong without stigma.
With this flame, we nurse our elders,
and our young ones too,
often at the same time,
keeping an eye on bill payments,
scrounging for food and rent.
Tell a woman she has a huge bright flame
ready to flare up in her heart,
and she’s not alone. We all have one,
we who walk tall, and we who are under the thumb,
we who speak here now, and we who have been silenced,
we all share this flame, it’s an eternal flame,
it’s hot, and it’s brilliant, and it never goes away.
Tell a woman, this is our birthright, this is who we are,
we, the women, the people of the womb,
who carry the world, who yearn for love and honor,
who, somewhere deep inside,
will never be denied, will never give in.
Tell a woman, this is who we are,
all of us aflame, all of us women,
all of us carrying that precious fire
that guides our days,
that reminds us of what this life really means,
that shows us its light and tells us how to move,
how to be, how to turn, how to love each day.
Tell a woman, she has a pure flame deep in her heart
that can never be extinguished, that cannot be pushed under,
that can never be broken,
that does not bleed away,
that cannot be raped or beaten down,
that can only rise higher,
that flares up within us,
and with each step brightens, and lights our way,
brighter and brighter, as we see our flames
more clearly, more loudly, more assuredly, more proudly,
all of us gazing at that brand new day,
not much longer now, just on the horizon,
when we look at a woman and know,
with her light, she leads the way.
Annelinde MetznerJanuary 15, 2013
I wrote this poem in 2013 for an event called "One Billion Rising" envisioned by Eve Ensler and celebrated around the world. This event, and my poem, were created to bring women together to know their own power, and to break the chains that bind us.
Here are a couple of photos from the event.
|Myself reading at "One Billion Rising"|
|Listeners at the event|