To Be a Woman

To be a woman

a shadow without form,

extinguished by sunlight,

Wombing meaningless men

in the endless chain of need;

To be worn on rainy days,

like colourless old shoes

groping between pots and pans

eyes in steam,

Streaming more than onion-tears;

to be a woman,

characterless like bamboo stalks,

to be scissored to shape,

a hedge against odd weather

and when asleep to fly

untrammelled like a bird,

to exult in the open air,

tossing between oceans and clouds

dreaming of trees kissed by the sun,

while their gnarled roots sink into the earth;

then to return with the weighted womb,

like a boomerang – 

to believe that shadows have existence.

Shakuntala Hawoldar

Hawoldar, Shakuntala. “To Be a Woman”. You. Beau Bois-St Pierre: Lemwee Graphics, 1981.

Bio : Shakuntala Hawoldar was born in Bombay, India. She emigrated to Mauritius in 1968. She is well-known poet and short story writer in Mauritius and abroad.
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