29 March 2017

Gender Escapes

My pronouns are she, her and hers. I add
this to my name tags now, acknowledging
that There are more things in heaven and earth
than are dreamt of in old philosophies.

Once upon a time, surrounded by
women, I believed my identity
depended on having a womb—and so
dreaded a needed hysterectomy.

But I awoke afterwards even more
female in body, mind and soul, even
more feminist and non-traditional,
and more aware of women’s hard choices.

A year later, I fainted during my
doctoral research in Italy, and
woke up to male doctors questioning
why, so young, I couldn’t bear children.

Neither fever nor chills concerned them, not
pouring sweat nor stomach pain. Nor that they
could violate me while I was passed out. 
Not that they saw me as damaged, not ill.

Chilled to the bone, I begged for more blankets.
Scared to death, I asked to be discharged.
Told not until my fever broke, I fled.
The women in the clinic cheered me on.

My pronouns are she, her and hers. I add
these to my name tags now, quite happy
that There are more things in heaven and earth
than are dreamt of in old philosophies.

So this is a happy poem, a poem
of praise, a poem of gratitude that some
of us escape the cage. Biology 
is not destiny.  We can overcome. 

My blog poems are rough drafts.   
Please respect my copyright. 
© 2017 Susan L. Chast


Sumana Roy said...

very powerful and inspiring words Susan...in my own country SO much is expected (preselected options) of a woman except a female fetus of that very person...sigh...

Therisa's World said...

Sadly, Susan, I can, all too well, relate to your poem, in having to correct people, in the proper pronouns, they should use, in addressing me. Besides, I wearing those nametags.

indybev said...

"Biology is not destiny". Profound words. Great poem.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

What an amazing experience that was. (Amazing to have studied in Italy, too!) I had a similar encounter with a male doctor when I told him I was pregnant again when my youngest (at that time) was just three months old. He said "that's what women are for, isnt it?" Wowzers. And that was 1970, not the middle ages. I love your ascending closing lines. (I mentally hear Helen Reddy in the background. My she-ro back then.) A wonderful read.

annell4 said...

A wonderful write!!

Old Egg said...

I feel a but ashamed in poking my nose in here but sadly I must agree with everything you have said. Luckily I was raised by a strong mother and having other aunts who were heads of family during WW2 with the men away at war. So I never had a male dominated mindset instilled in me.

Anonymous said...

Great poem (to put it lightly). As you know I worked hard for gender equality when I was a coach.

Gillena Cox said...

Luv your "happy poem" Susan. Thanks for dropping by to read mine

Much love...

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

It's not only happy, but triumphant!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

A poem of exultation--yes!

Panchali said...

Brilliant!! Who have you portrayed? Maybe it is a part of me that you are referring to....!! Smiles. It's so easy to relate to this poem...Maybe we can coin a new term—equalism!! Or, Genderism! But, we definitely need to do away with the isms all together..:)

Sreeja said...

There are more things in heaven and earth
than are dreamt of in old philosophies.............and biology is not destiny are truly great lines!

rallentanda said...

Before the feminist movement,biology did determine a woman's destiny.
Your poem reminds me of all the slights, discrimination and insults women have had to suffer over the years at the hands of ignorant men.