Language of the Women

by Ethel Mortenson Davis

The women of the village
started to weave
a new language
into their fabric—
shapes and forms
into their dress,
so they could communicate
with each other.

The men of the village
had treated them cruelly,
along with the children
and the animals
(whose spirits are interwoven).
Girls that tried to escape
had their ears and noses
cut off or worse.

Now, when the women
are in the market,
watched and separated,
they are able to send
messages to each other.

They are getting stronger
every day—

Mighty like the great river
that one day will flow out of that country.


Filed under Ethel Mortenson Davis, Poetry

4 responses to “Language of the Women

  1. I have to click “like” for writing style but not the nose and ear punishment!
    However, the ancient Assyrians do not hold the market on cruel and unusual punishment, do they?…

  2. Interesting comment, especially about the Assyrians. Ethel

  3. I don’t know about what you want to explain (what country ? it’s terrible for the young girls !!)
    but, when I read yours words, hope is there, confidence is there
    whatever the difficults, whatever happens… hope and confidence are there !
    and it’s the most important…

    have a good day !

  4. This is very moving, I think because of its directness on such a painful subject. There have been plenty of disgraceful and horrific stories in the British press about the despicable treatment of women, by men, in a number of still backward countries. Western countries are not exempt from condemnation either, but at least it is not systemic any longer.
    Yes, there is hope in your lines – but cautiously expressed, as a hope for the longer term. I think that you’ve made a subtle and correct judgement here – which makes for a more powerful poem.

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