Version 2


I am nothing, I am taught–vagina a brand
of absence.  Not true–
I am something, I am taught,
in the way that the chair you sit upon is something, or the cot
where you throw yourself down, or that fine pinky ring that one day
you will pawn–but when I am taught
something else–even just the writing of these words,
the chair will stand, the cot straighten, and print everywhere
will ring out to me, inked clappers pealing
this whole damned, whole blesséd, world.


This – yes, I’m calling it a draft, as it is early in the morning here-was written for Kerry O’Connor’s prompt on Real Toads on micro-poetry.  I am afraid it is micro-prose if micro-anything. Kerry asked us to think of seeing the world through a grain of sand–here I was thinking of something that sounds perhaps small–girls’ education–but is huge.  And really, it could be the education of any child, boy or girl–

The pic is an old one taken by me many years ago in Nepal (early 80’s)–I happen to have that pic, I don’t think that girls’ education is particularly worse in Nepal than in many many other parts of the world. 

PS – of course, I am not referring to my personal experience here–lucky enough to grow up in a place and time where although women were under certain obstacles, they were allowed to thrive. 

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13 Comments on “Bell”

  1. hedgewitch Says:

    I think the second half of this does speak of our own personal experience as women–not the totality of it of course, but as we are so often seen as something two-dimensional, gender-quantified, ‘useful’ or idealized into a desirable shiny object which one day will lose all personal value. (I don’t suppose that is much different than how anyone, male or female, can be objectifed, of course.) The opening is indeed the painfully sad tale of a world that wants to cling to a very bad bit of the past. Very insightful poem, k.

  2. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    The lack of education is a crisis the world over, girls in particular side-lined, as well as those of so-called low class, the indigent, the marginalized. That such a poem is most needful in the 21st Century is a travesty.

  3. kaykuala h Says:

    Girl’s education is not seen as an urgent requirement perhaps women have men to take care of them. So education for man is of importance. This has some bearing but now discarded!


  4. coalblack Says:

    Sing it,sister. Words are powerful, gather them up and then send them into the world as bolts!

  5. Anyone int changing the world to the better would know that investment in girl’s education is not a small thing… one of the few thing that correlate perfectly with a nation’s prosperity…

  6. What an amazing photo, and a wonderful poem with a timely message. I especially LOVE the last two lines!

  7. Such a powerful topic and poem, K.

  8. Jim Says:

    “Bell” is the school bell. I am reminded of the boco haram (I refuse to capitalize) which initially rallied against the education of Nigerians, especially the girls and women. We all remember the 214 school girls abducted last year, to be sold into slavery or kept as wives. It is estimated that there are still over 2,000 women captives.

  9. othermary Says:

    What we are taught, both formally and informally is crucial. I place my hope in education.

  10. gillena Says:

    surely education will life every spirit to a sense of worthy self
    Nice write

    much love…

  11. margaret Says:

    One at a time, a girl educated, … and a whole nation – the whole world can change! Lovely.

  12. Brendan Says:

    To be called–branded–“nothing” is a spiritual equivalence, zero in heaven; a dude thing, when in the material world woman is everything, is world. Fine loud timbre of clarity here.

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