Tuesday Poetry: Susan Griffin’s “Three Poems for a Woman”

I’m a woman, and I’m pissed off.

It’s a useful feeling: when you are agitated enough, you want to take action and make things different. That was the feeling I had when I walked out of the excellent, baller fantastic documentary She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry (2014). Even the title is excellent:  think about how it captures the innate, condescending perspective of many men while also reappropriating that perspective to the feminist cause, in which a woman who is angry is a woman who is attractive, powerful, and not repulsive.

One of the figures featured in the film is Susan Griffin, poet, essayist, feminist, and general badass. One of her poems is read in the film: “Three poems for a woman.” Not quite sure as to the editorial veracity of this source, but it will do for now:

Three Poems for a Woman

1.

This is a poem for a woman doing dishes.
This is a poem for a woman doing dishes.
It must be repeated.
It must be repeated,
again and again,
again and again,
because the woman doing dishes
because the woman doing dishes
has trouble hearing
has trouble hearing.

2.

And this is another poem for a woman
cleaning the floor
who cannot hear at all.
Let us have a moment of silence
for a woman who cleans the floor.

3.
And here is one more poem
for the woman at home
with children.
You never see her at night.
Stare at an empty place and imagine her there,
the woman with children
because she cannot be here to speak
for herself,
and listen
to what you think
she might say.

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