24 January 2017

Small Change



Words are the small change of thought.

Coins in our pockets are enough to buy
a meal or put into a beggar’s cup
or toss upon a wish in still fountains.

We’ll save our lint for free flowing water
and shake the dust of sleep from our sore eyes.
We thought there would be time for everything—
to rest, to laugh, to live into our dreams.

We stare into our cups of chamomile
quiet after the legendary march
la marcha de las mujeres—where we
saw there-ness as a pledge to stand
up for each other whenever needed.

Whatever that may mean.  What we can do
depended on what we showed here today,
and what we saw among us was power.
On every continent, women stood up
and marched, some with much more to fear than us.
They marched in two and three generations.

In every language signs and shirts spoke out—
Women’s rights are human rights--See the value
of a country by the condition of its women—Make us kind again. 
We sang until hoarse from yelling, lost voice
soon after finding it, calmed down to walk
along with those with whom we scarce agree.

Those who have sense are frightened. Still, we grin
and sip our tea.  We’re satisfied. Turnout was good.
Tomorrow we’ll think of what’s next, answer
the critics who question our strategies,
and protest cuts in social services,
pipelines across first people’s land, increased
hostility among nations—and greed.

People continue to hand us flowers
expressing solidarity with our
purpose, expecting continued presence.
Those who have sense are frightened. Still, we grin
and sip our tea.  We’re satisfied. Turnout was good.
Let tea restore our voices, calm our nerves.

We send our digital relics across
oceans that still divide us.  Visuals
do not lie, but have we listened to words
shaken loose from silence and oppression?
In every language signs and shirts spoke out.

On every continent, women stood up
to march in two and three generations.
We must stand together, they said. Hold out
your hands and promise you’ll use your power.

Please shake the dust off your obedience.
Resist.  Grow stronger still and there’ll be time
to rest, to laugh, to live into our dreams.

Their words rattle us, jingle our small loose
coins, dare us to do more than walk and talk.

We shove our hands deep in pockets of change.



My blog poems are rough drafts.
Please respect my copyright.

© 2017 Susan L. Chast




13 comments:

Thotpurge said...

some with much more to fear than us.... that stood out for me Susan, you're absolutely right..women are fighting for much more in many places, right from female foeticide to abuse in war zones. The fight has to go on, much much more, but perspective is also so necessary. Excellent poem.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Wow! I love the pockets of change, and the marching for change. Very cool. Yes, those who have sense are frightened. I am outraged. Loved this poem, and love that you marched.

Sumana Roy said...

"shake the dust of sleep from our sore eyes." now is the time to do just that...change is the miracle that will take place...

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Their words rattle us, jingle our small loose
coins, dare us to do more than walk and talk.
We shove our hands deep in pockets of change.

Susan, this is absolutely awe-inspiring!❤️

kaykuala said...

Their words rattle us, jingle our small loose
coins, dare us to do more than walk and talk.
We shove our hands deep in pockets of change.

Very good analysis Susan. The ending appropriately summed it all up.Yes, there were a lot of actions, protests though the generations. Was it just giving loose change to a serious matter?

Hank

Mary said...

Yes, turnout was good. But I don't think there is a lot of time for sipping tea. We have to find a way to shake loose from silence and oppression. We must shake dust off obedience & resist. We have to find a way to be an agent of change, not only for ourselves but for the generation following. Thank you for this, Susan.

Martin Kloess said...

Powerful message and well expressed. When the change does come, you can say, "I was a part of that."

Suzanne Day said...

Time maeches on from beginning to end, from arrival to remembering and plunging hands deep into pockets with resolve to DO something (after the tea sooths the throat and the vision of what to do becomes more clear.) Thjis is an epic in a nutshell. As an activist woman who could not be there this week, I feel embraced by the feeling of involvement your poem makes palpable so powerfully. Oh, how powerful are our numbers! Oh, how questioning are our hopes and fears in the shadow of chilling possibilities. Those hands plunged into pockets fingering change are going to build a future with participants from two, three, maybe more generations of good neighbors!

So grateful!

8189 said...

Yes, we must go on from here. The march was incredibly uplifting, but there is so much more work to do.


Elizabeth

https://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/2017/01/25/8189/

Old Egg said...

Having been brought up in families of strong women and lived in countries where women were finally accepted as equal in most aspects of society it is rather disturbing to realise that possibly the most powerful country in the world still has a gender bias that causes concern. The answer is never to sit back and say 'I am satisfied' until you are sure all prejudice has been eradicated.

Carrie Van Horn said...

Wise and powerful words ring out a beautiful message here Susan!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

I'm sure that Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. heard the call to shake the dust off their obedience. Yes, I'm sure of it. I am so hoping that the post-Inauguration-Day marches presage an unstoppable wave of civil disobedience to the tyrant who now seeks to control the destiny of the world.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

This is wonderful – and it is also a historical document. Please don't ever be tempted to discard it.