Freedom for some? What about the rights of others?
Goldilocks acrylic painting by Candia Dixon-Stuart
The unspoilt church William Morris was inspired by when he founded the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Monuments. A gem, sadly attacked by heartless lead thieves a couple of years ago.
Photo by Candia Dixon-Stuart. All Rights Reserved.
Rokeby Venus: National Gallery, UK
unsuccessful MP beautiful paradigm refused breakfast
ageing face gawping men mirror image
almond-eyed Madonna broad-shouldered detectives opened newspaper
six month sentence
newspaper image backward paradigm ageing men
In El Salvador there’s an assumption,
in many cases, that a miscarriage
is the consequence of an abortion.
Girls who have been raped can lose their freedom.
A premature, or unviable birth
can result in a forty year sentence.
How can a country of that name sentence
women when it reveres The Assumption
of a virgin? Supernatural birth
protected Mary from a miscarriage
when she experienced threats to her freedom.
State infanticide – worse than abortion?
Las 17, accused of abortion,
were subjected to a lengthy sentence
in a land whose motto includes ‘Freedom’.
Children, trafficked, may face an assumption
which can lead to Justice’s miscarriage –
Mata ninos -? Rather, victims from their birth.
After civil war there should be re-birth,
with an enlightened view of abortion
and understanding that a miscarriage
is, for women, a kind of life sentence.
Why should any state make an assumption
that stillbirths express a woman’s freedom?
Accused of homicide; denied freedom
because of complications with a birth!
To disregard is to make assumption;
logical process suffers abortion.
The powerful deliver the sentence.
There’s no calculation in miscarriage.
It’s spontaneous; there is no freedom
expressed. The women uttered no sentence:
I now intend to sabotage this birth.
Or, Drinking this will promote abortion.
Blanket blame’s an ignorant assumption.
Denying freedom and pronouncing sentence
on those who suffer miscarriage, stillbirth
is, in itself, a monstrous abortion
and an assumption of omniscience.
Giclee Prints available of above image.
Another young girl’s death reported after being banished to a menstruation
hut. She inhaled toxic fumes from a fire.
This poem is my outraged response to the barbarity of the practice:
My turn in this red chamber, wrapped in jute,
drinking bovine urine, for I’m impure.
I may not touch a plant, food, or a man;
I may not milk a buffalo, or bathe.
I’ve come here from menarche to this goth
and I’ll come here until my menopause.
I look at the night sky; try to count the stars;
wonder why Saraswati is angered
if any of us wants to touch a book.
She sits, pen in hand, on a white lotus
and leaves no trace of menstrual fluid,
her clothing as unstained as mountain snow.
The swan at her feet drinks milk at its will.
I’m told she is the best of mothers and
she dwells upon the tongues of poets too.
I pray she will preserve me from lightning;
keep all snakes away and send me to school;
pray that my mother will hand me flatbread
and not fling it at me, as to a dog.
Chaupadi. I study my child’s face
and sip gahut to purify myself
from drunken animals who molest me.
I pray the rats will not come here tonight.
It’s cold – cold enough to kindle a fire,
but I must stay alert, for my sister
was found lifeless, smoke-choked, six months ago.
Tomorrow will be Vasant Panchami.
I hope the goddess will help my baby
to learn some alphabet, so she’ll read
how to rebel, without bringing bad luck
from past generations into the next.
Then her destiny will no longer be,
what we’ve all shared: the lowly cattle shed.
The Blood Moon has arisen over the peaks.
I pray for synchrony; for company
and hope that, at the chaupadi dhara,
I’ll meet another girl who’s not a ghost.
Oh, that Kalidasa would take a dip
with us one day and share our suffering!
Don’t sleep standing up. Just one more day now.