Saturday, May 4, 2013

m(a)ystery of the woman


the night labels you a man-eating monster,
supernatural creature who eats fetus 
with a long tongue, shapeshifter-
half-woman and half-animal,   
dismembered torso, wings black as a devil-
hunted and shunned-
a witch !

            chants, by white-collared friars with heavy rosaries-
            gossips, by greedy male traders with western swagger-  
            they all lie in wait to shackle you to a box, plain & mute-  
            until you feel ashamed of your virile nakedness - breasts,  
            face, legs, you cover everything in modesty, 
            veiled, hidden, tempered steel, 
            a diminished star.
             
but don't you remember - 
you were worshipped like the sun - a goddess:
fertile, propagating & naming children, like mother nature
you were the pact holder, mediator of the tribe,
the healer, believing in the power of cure in leaves & fruits-
you fought for your rights & freedom-
now, wake up & wear your skin, 
your words have magic,  you are 
a queen ! 




First woman general who fought against the Spanish invaders
in the 18th century.


Posted for:   D'verse Poets Pub - Poetics - Myths 



I watched this interesting documentary by a Canadian on a popular Asian myth of vampire folklore in the Philippines.   I was struck with the idea that native women rebelled against the tight structure of Spanish Catholic religion and way of life.   In the early centuries, native women were powerful priestess, rulers and well respected guardians in the tribal community.                                                    



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ePhqoyLpXQ

41 comments:

  1. wow...very cool take grace...and sad too what was taken...some of the most striking myths have the roots in truth as well...ugh on what was taken...and myths build as well to dehumanize in the taking of that power...

    happy saturday!

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    1. Yes, sad on what was taken away ~ Until today we are are still fighting to regain the power ~ Thanks Brian ~

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  2. THE FIRST STANZA GIVES A SHIVER...WELL DESCRIBED...

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    1. Thank you ~ I placed the picture at the bottom of the post ~

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  3. this is great Grace. I love the detail of description in the opening stanza, followed up brilliantly with the second. really like the note at the end, ties this up beautifully into metaphoric storytelling. very nicely done. Thanks

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    1. Thank you for the wonderful prompt Fred ~

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  4. Ah how we brand those of integrity and power for the sake of our own. And how often throughout history this has been women.

    witch --- a terrible world. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yes, why always of women ~ Thank you Bjorn ~

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  5. A lot was lost to the indigenous peoples during colonization. Culture and history taken away and demonized. Perhaps there is still a voice to be heard, to recall what once was. Nice write, Grace.

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    1. I agree Eusebia, a lot was lost ~ I can hardly find anything about them, even in the age of internet ~

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  6. love the call to see themselves as queens again after being degraded to witches...ugh...terrible stories happened all across the earth and through the centuries... really tightly woven grace

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    1. I love that lasting image too Claudia, thanks ~

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  7. compelling poem, Grace - and to think women still struggle to have their voices heard and not be called names or worse K

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    1. There are worse names ~ I agree K ~

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  8. That's how I learned the overthrow of ancien Greek agrarian matriarchy with the arrival of hordes of roaming male hunters. I heard they got angry that a few were needed yearly for the growth of seeds... I don't know about the rest of the world. But let the past be past except for the memory and availability of power.

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    1. The theme seems to be universal ~ Thanks Susan ~

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  9. I really like this, Grace. From witch to queen. She seems a bit shy about her role as queen, though.

    Thanks for sharing the video, too. I'll have to look at it later.

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    1. Thanks Laurie, the video is long though ~ But the last 18 minutes sums it up nicely ~

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  10. Women of strength, throughout history, pre-history, legend & myth, have always fascinated me beyond the muscular machismo of the male heroes. Very well written poem, Grace, and wonderfully conceived.

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  11. Every myth has some short of truth behind it, nice weave of all kinds as you sure inspire minds.

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  12. That's an interesting one, the conflict between power and femininity make a fascinating combination.

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  13. A witch conjures a nasty kind of creature. It rightly describes a woman disliked by others. What women had to put up with to wield the kind of power! Nicely Grace!

    Hank

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    1. The label of fear is misleading Hank ~ Thank you~

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  14. Caught me unawares, but delighted and surprised to hear the mythic beast was human, always human. The shameful treatment of women by the Xtian church is rightly castigated. Thank you for bringing the myth to light, which I had not heard of before.

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  15. Although I'm far from Spanish, this reminds me of the history of my old hometown where I grew up - we have the infamy of being the last town to execute witches (on record that is) in England. You really show how times and culture can turn perspective on its head.

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  16. First time I've heard of this particular Gabriela...love the ancient story behind her.

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  17. Brilliant, I haven't heard of Gabriela either, at first I thought this was Joan of arc...women of strength were always feared back then and sometimes still are...only now they're not tried as witches...a wonderful tale and poem and nice to find out about another warrior woman.

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  18. ...this is no doubt a great feminist poem Grace... it clearly demonstrate & re-rights the voice of the women in the society... at first couple of lines i had a vision of aswang... then looked out of the pic & thought of Joan of arc... then as i read further til the very end i realized the entire piece nailed itself with high respect... excellent Grace... i tried to write in a more contemporary voice for this theme like what you & others did but felt uncomfortable... i went on ending up writing in classics again and nobody can understand... sigh... smiles...

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  19. This is absolutely amazing, I have no words you have blown me away!

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  20. Yes, witch to queen, a new plot so far as I'm concerned. Powerful in itself and powerfully portrayed here. Excellent.

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  21. Nice spin, really rings true for women

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  22. Wonderful to read! Amazing to find that women had such power and were so respected centuries ago!

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  23. fertile, propagating & naming children, like mother nature
    you were the pact holder, mediator of the tribe,
    the healer, believing in the power of cure in leaves & fruits-
    you fought for your rights & freedom-

    I love this because we still do =)

    Happy Sunday, Grace!

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  24. Sad but true. History is laced with such brave attempts and yet today we brush it aside as a story lost in those million pages.

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  25. Grace..all I can say is OH HELL YES!! This needs to be read aloud to get the full might of it! Bring on the matriarchy and get all those fat ass old men out of power.

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  26. Remarkable Grace. When a woman is strong, she is considered a "witch" or worse. Love the way you told this story.

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  27. love this Grace
    sounds beautuful!

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  28. Grace, it's so ironic, as a practicing Christian (leftie) and wife of a pastor, how other Christians tend to spoil it for the rest of us. All extremist factions of religion, be it Christian, Jew, or Muslim - make it hard on everyone else to say we simply live for God's grace and love.

    Most atheists I know are better at it than churchgoers! And yes, women were also scuttled at the Council of Nicea, where they "chose" what books to include in the Bible and threw out the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, for one.

    It's true that women were worshiped, their fertility celebrated, our cronedom respected. This poem sets the record straight... thanks! Amy

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