So, this was interesting. Sitawa Wafula, a lovely women I met on Twitter, suggested some keywords for me that were bound to lead to quite a political, feminist poem. I'm usually quite comfortable writing poetry about my politics, but it's rarely what you could term earnest or sincere.
These keywords, combined with the form, forced me to be just that, which felt very unnatural for me. Also, unlike with other sestinas I've done, I just wasn't willing to let the structure take over and dictate how it turned out. So I was fighting the structure every step of the way to write this feminist poem. Ooh! There's a metaphor in that!
One of the ideas of this project was to challenge myself - bring me out of my comfort zone of cutesy-pootsey rhymes. That's certainly happening.
Actually this may be a sestina, but I don't think it's a poem. It's just kind of a rant. In sestina form.
Sometimes I work myself into a state
Of apoplexy when I see how women
Are shunned and disrespected by my culture.
We make up over half the population,
And yet for equal rights we must take action,
For patriarchy makes us vulnerable
But really, why should we be vulnerable?
We're not in some pathetic, weakened state.
We're physically strong, we can take action,
Support ourselves as well as other women,
A vibrant, worldwide female population:
Why are we so restricted by our culture?
It's said that I am from a liberal culture:
To sexism I'm not as vulnerable
As many in the female population
Who find their freedom crushed by fascist state
by quaint traditions" that devalue women
Or by religious bigotry in action.
And yet it's frowned upon when I take action
To challenge sexism within my culture
Dismissed and mocked by men, attacked by women
When I point out that we're still vulnerable
To ridicule and judgement when I state
Respect's due to the female population
Within, of course, the wider population.
It would be lovely if more men took action
To challenge sexism within the state
Or worked towards a far more equal culture.
Both men and women can be vulnerable
Or strong. But sometimes women
Do not defend the rights of other women
That's how half of the human population
Though not outnumbered, are still vulnerable
Because we're told that we cannot take action
We mock the ones who want to change the culture
So feminism's in a dreadful state!
We are not vulnerable unless, as women
We don't take action to improve our state.
Our population can reclaim our culture.