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Thursday, March 8, 2012 is International Women's Day: a time to celebrate the achievements of women throughout history.

Are you feeling lackadaisical right now? Not to worry, the poetic fiction below will get you moving.

This is written and dedicated to women across the nations who face all manner of hardship and deprivation.

African woman smiling


Stars and moon stood in regal recline, waiting
Granny, Papa, and a relative sat in affected calm
Mama moaned, again and again
The moaning lengthened into numerous voices
Touching the earthly and heavenly visitors, waiting

The midwife led Mama to a place of new life
Granny followed with sure steps
Royal visitors occupied window seats
Before the owl could utter a second cry, it was over
The witnesses smiled as my shrieks brushed the terracotta walls with new life

Granny told it again and again as rains and moons passed
The smiling moon, shining stars, expectant family
Then Papa showed me a new way, the way of the stranger
They called him ‘Colonial Master’; and said he never passed gas
We dwelled in our city of the stranger as more rains and moons passed

A new unexpected world opened to me
I was in a small house with other children
The stranger was magical
Teaching us to speak and scribble in his language in no time
The world of books he opened to me

I became a daughter Mama did not understand
One Papa was proud of and Gran marvelled at when she came
I was an African girl in two worlds
Worlds I loved with equal passion
Worlds I did not understand

Both worlds began to fight for my allegiance
My fragile mind danced in both directions
The strange world charmed me; my roots struggled for a grip
I knew which dance step appealed to me
I took a step closer to the stranger, offering my allegiance

I began to dream about touching this new world
Living it in the books I devoured
A land of freedom and knowledge
I held to this hunger in my head
Uncertain about touching this new world

It was the stranger who gave me my dream
My gifted hands made way for me
I created new worlds with them
I captured the hearts of people far and near
I was going to see and touch my dream

Stepping into the land of my dream with glee
I chased after the wonders of my gifted hands
The cold inedible manna from the sky didn’t hold me back
The long, sunny days and bright nights kept my eyes open
I created new worlds with glee

A quarter of a decade later
My roots beckoned; I answered the call
I became a custodian and dispenser of knowledge
My gentle heart then accepted a courtship
This was a year later

Faithfulness, kindness and loyalty the air I breathed
I walked into a union of pain
My hoax prince revealed his hand
That of a traitor, an inflictor of pain
Faithfulness, kindness, loyalty remained the air I breathed

In this painful alliance I dwelled as years strolled by
Loneliness and tears my faithful companions
My gifted hands prospered; as my gentle heart bled
I became two persons in one
In this painful charade I was belaboured as years strolled by

I was the confident and successful African woman
I was the bruised, petrified African woman
The first was admired by all
The second hidden from daylight
To the world, I was the confident and successful African woman

My accuser was a stormy sea of unrelenting words and actions
My tender heart pounded at his towering presence and threats
My unassuming nature lacked defence against the onslaught
My gifted hands became my solitary succour in the wilderness
Yet, not strong enough to blot out the cutting words and actions

I began to dream about a new doorway
One without torment; one of peace and joy
Hidden from the tongue and hands of him who pierced me
A place of love and contentment
I knew the path to my true destiny lay in this new doorway

In search of my true destiny
I became the wounded wanderer, held and led by my gifted hands
In pursuit of liberty, I journeyed to distant lands on eagles’ wings
From the land of rainbow to the land of waters and seas of coconuts
Then I smelled the presence of my true destiny

It found me before the tide ebbed, opening its doors to let me in
With broken wounds I rested in the embrace of the Maple Leaves
The world I dreamed of since childhood became home
Giving me freedom, healing and hope
Offering me new beginnings as it took me in

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