Sigh of Relief

This photo tells the tale of what it was like when I got up this morning--


Yes, that is ice on the window. Ten years ago, Maine had a truly dreadful ice storm. I lived in Portland at the time and though we got ice also, we didn't lose power. But up here in Belfast, folks were without power for days and in some towns for 3 weeks. So when the forecast predicts ice, we all shudder a bit in memory of that awful storm. But it is warming up now and it is now rain that is hitting my windows and the ice is disappearing from the lilac outside my window. Sigh of relief.

Another sigh of relief last night. The candidate I was really wanting to win was John Edwards. And since he has dropped out I have not been either for nor against any of the remaining Democrats. But it hit me earlier this week how much I have been feeling some of the frank misogyny I have heard directed at Hillary Clinton. And this made me want her to do well yesterday, which she did. So another sigh of relief. I am not against Obama and I am not for Clinton, but I confess I kind of hope I will see a woman in the White House in my lifetime and maybe she could do it.

Knitting on -- that is what I am doing.

I have been reading Marge Piercy's poems the couple of days. Juicy poems about women. I give you this today:

"For strong women"

A strong woman is a woman who is straining.
A strong woman is a woman standing
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing Boris Godunov.
A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
and while she shovels, she talks about
how she doesn't mind crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
develops the stomach muscles, and 
she goes on shoveling with tears
in her nose.

A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren't you feminine, why aren't
you soft, why aren't you quiet, why
aren't you dead?

A strong woman is a woman determined
to do something others are determined
not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying 
to butt her way through a steel wall.
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you're so strong.

A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.

A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.

What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other. Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.

© Cheryl Fuller, 2007. All  rights reserved.