It has taken me awhile to post this poem because of the potentially upsetting content. But it contains some truths and may help someone write about their experiences and thoughts. A poem like this can gift the writer with new entry into material that has been waiting to be expressed. What happens to an individual may seem like something that has been happening to women throughout the ages, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be expressed. It keeps happening and does not become old news and writing your story may show someone the way through it.
The Menstrual Lodge Ursula K. Le Guin
Accepting the heavy destiny of power,
I went to the small house when the time came.
I ate no meat, looked no one in the eye,
and scratched my fleabites with a stick:
to touch myself would close the circle
that must be open so a man can enter.
After five days I came home,
having washed myself and all I touched and wore
in Bear Creek, washed away the sign,
the color, and the smell of power.
It was no use. Nothing,
no ritual or servitude or shame,
unmade my power, or your fear.
You waited in the thickets in the winter rain
as I went alone from the small house.
You beat my head and face and raped me
and went to boast. When my womb swelled,
your friends made a small circle with you:
We all fucked that one.
Who knows who’s the father?
By Bear Creek I gave birth, in Bear Creek
I drowned it. Who knows who’s the mother?
Its father was your fear of me.
I am the dirt beneath your feet.
What are you frightened of? Go fight your wars,
be great in club and lodge and politics.
When you find out what power is, come back.
I am the dirt, and the raincloud, and the rain.
The walls of my house are the steps I walk
from the day of birth around the work I work,
from giving birth to day of death.
The roof of my house is thunder,
the doorway is the wind.
I keep this house, this great house.
When will you come in?