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ELEMENTARY FEMINISMS: Three Poems on Being a Girl - The Feminist Wire

ELEMENTARY FEMINISMS: Three Poems on Being a Girl

By Kirstin Stevely

 

Stevely's Mum, Family Photo

Stevely’s Mum, Family Photo

 

Hush Little One

 

Hush little one, don’t say a word,

Still knowing nothing of the big wide world.

Nobody has told you what you must be,

When you look in a mirror, it’s you that you see.

 

Hush pretty baby, go to sleep,

Close your eyes, not a peep.

You haven’t known pain, or lies, or deceit,

I pray in my heart that you will never meet.

 

Hush sweet angel, dream and dream,

Things are not quite how they seem.

Boys will hurt you, girls will hate you,

Till’ the point when you won’t know you.

 

When you’re older, things will change,

Beauty for love, you will learn to exchange.

Nobody wants an ugly girl,

Always be a perfect pearl.

 

When you struggle to stay thin,

You will find your ugly twin.

She sticks your fingers down your throat,

It stops you from getting fat: take note.

 

Then one day when you finish school,

You’ll be paid very little as a rule.

You might work as hard as a man,

But will always be worth less than.

 

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a husband.

He’ll pay the bills and hold your hand.

While you bear children and give up your job,

That’s just natural, is it not?

 

Hush my girl, don’t say a word,

For it’s better not to be heard.

Things are better than before,

So don’t complain, or ask for more.

 

Don’t ask for equal pay or rights,

Women are not made to fight.

Don’t expect to be unmolested,

If your clothing is suggestive.

 

You will never be in power,

So settle down and be a flower.

Something pretty to be picked,

Then thrown away, abused and kicked.

 

Hush little one, don’t say a word.

But never stop singing, my sweet bird.

 

~~~~

 

Come And Get Me

 

I could write about ribbons of red lacing my skin,

Purposeful lines expelling my sin.

I could tell you that I’m a delicate bird,

Tragic, unheard.

I could dream about shrinking away,

Smaller and smaller, ‘till I’m pale and grey.

 

I can sit in a cold bath,

Trailing my fingers through my misery

And thinking it unique.

I can stay until my skin soaks up the stagnant water,

Until the membrane holding me together is weak.

 

But shall I tell you what is more beautiful

Than wrinkled skin and parted flesh?

What is more daring and bright than a tiny bird, locked out of sight?

 

Unabashed struts with beaming smiles,

Rays of sun that pierce through miles

Of fog and are unafraid. To run,

To shout, to scream, to pout!

To defy.

And to be, to fly, to see

Life, to reach out and

Grab it with both hands.

Come and get me.

 

~~~~

 

A Doll

 

A plastic doll, propped upright,

Keeping watch with plastic eyes,

Staring without sight.

Stagnant moonlight lights her painted face,

Lips, muted pink, curved, tight.

 

Flecks of orange, grains of angry red

Bathe the tiny motes of dust as night begins to fade.

The clock is ticking, tick-tock,

‘Til starts the masquerade.

 

Oh fearful, fragile, plastic doll,

With powers to beguile.

She hides within her plastic shell,

She kneels behind her smile.

 

And underneath her empty mirth,

A vacant, absent blank.

With batteries to power through,

But years ago, she sank.

 

 

*************

Stevely bio picKirstin Stevely is eighteen years old and started writing poetry from around the age of twelve.  In Stevely’s words: “this stage of my writing consisted primarily of my professed love for various members of the opposite sex. Around the age of fourteen, I developed an eating disorder. Poetry became a way for me to deal with my emotions and express my anger at our patriarchal society, which I felt was to blame for my obsession with perfection and beauty. My poem “A Doll” (above) is one of the first poems I wrote. I found that to be able to put into words exactly what I wanted to say and to spend time playing with language to find the perfect form of expression was something so beautiful that I had to write more—I realized how cathartic poetry could be for me. Over the years, I have fallen increasingly in love with literature. I believe that it can change lives and opinions, which is of course why it is so important for feminism to have a literary voice.”