TWI Poetry #Metoo Some Poems in Exploration


There are many facets to this hashtag. Not just stories or experiences but the untold, unshared, many of them in the spirit of a celebration. Curious, excited, coming of age, nervous, a voice, nevertheless.

Perhaps, the hashtag is not only about finding a voice to raise a voice but also hold a head high, raise a toast. So here we say Three Cheers! to three distinguished women poets and their voices that transcends generations.


by Anna Sujatha Mathai

‘He who seeks light must learn to walk in the dark.’ –

St. John of the Cross.


When I was seventeen

And dreaming of distant lands

And faraway loves,

My grandmother said

‘Get her married

before the light

goes out of her face.’

The light in a woman’s face

Should not be so brief.

It’s meant to last a long time,

Nourished by the soul.

Well, they got me married,


put out that light.

But I learned to live in candle-light

When the other lights went out.

One learns by subtle contact to reach

Electricity at most mysterious levels.

Light goes from the face, but

Survival lends one light

that shines most brightly.

She who seeks light,

Must learn to walk in the darkness

On her own road.


Coming of Age

by Anjum Hasan

The year is 1985
and Phoebe comes to class wearing a golden wig.
A group of girls walk around school with moles
carefully drawn above their lips in blue ballpoint ink.
They’re in love with Madonna.

This is the year that Sister Carmel, our English teacher,
will refuse to believe that Boy George is not a woman,
the year she will talk animatedly about Live Aid.
This year everyone loves the sex education class
but pretends not to.

Sister Monica shows us a film in the library
about an American teenager whom everybody bullies
because he’s still a virgin.
The point of the film is that he’s a winner nevertheless,
and can’t be cowed down.

Next year Prisca will have a baby
but this year she giggles and squirms like everyone else,
and when the girl I sit with stains her overall,
I’m so utterly envious.
I long to be part of this sisterhood.

This is the year of George Michael’s stubble,
the year of Stevie Wonder jokes.

This is the year I realise that there are only,
only women in the entire school building
and am astonished at the thought.


Green leaves of El Fasher

by Meena Alexander

Everything that’s real turns to sun:
Stones, trees, the jeeps they came in, those men,
In Jebel Marra, the leaves are very green,
Here, in El Fasher too.
I am singing, stones fill with music.
Do not touch my hair, I cried. They forced me
To uncover my head then beat me when my veil slipped,
Not the pink one I am wearing now, with stripes – this
My aunt gave me. I am not an animal,
They are more free, birds in the tree, horses too.
I am your language, do not cover me.
I am burning in what you take to be the present tense.
We are the letters alif, ba, taamim –
What the sun makes as it spins a nest of fire.


In our next one, a continuation of the hashtag, we explore pieces written in a genre of prose poetry and poems: Haibun and haiku.



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