To make International Women’s Day 2022, King’s College London student Karen Ng wrote a poem titled ‘Power to the Woman’. Karen took inspiration from visions of a more equal world contributed by members of the King’s community via our International Women’s Day padlet‘.
To see a great woman
you don’t have to look behind you.
Stick it to the man. That is, the unspoken
man on the hill we keep the woman
at the foot of. The hill’s keeper blocking
from the stairs the woman of colour
and everyone gender non-conforming
every trans person. The hill
we deny ever having witnessed.
A hill with stairs she cannot climb? Better now–
is it still sacred. Do we live together
still on this cracked earth? Here is the power
the power to the woman-identifying.
The sheep was taught to be a sheep
but it climbs the hill as anyone can.
Without fear of thorns that could
follow her in the shadow
you shouldn’t have walked
in at all, the hollow tooth-gaps
peering from the self-made hill-peak
asks her to show her teeth.
Before anything there were
mothers and guardians who held us
in hands scrawling birthday cards
our waking born into the earth
accepting and humankind denying.
By all contested public accounts in contests
they never signed up for, allowed ENOUGH
and LACKING at the same time.
Shot up with every other, above woman-hands
in the pocketless weight of all nurtured duty
glistens the stoic silver of chains
old and weeping from her cuffs.
Twice as good and twice as bad
shouldn’t matter under sunbeams.
That broad, motley sweeper never learnt identity.
In all its natural history it never
wondered if it deserved the warmth.
She has to walk the jagged edges
to reach the same door. Indoors
a chasm shaped like a wet slug taunts
with double standards
barely looking when it should
then too much
kisses the laughing palms
of self-assigned gods
splitting into branches, firing her worth
into shapely one note melodies.
Even the single one never mind the many!
Cut from her grip. Then
a horn self-fashioned
she lays at her feet.