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I AM the essence of woman
Daughter of Time; born of
Gods and goddesses,
Child of earth and sea
Mother of every nation
Sister to the evening sky
Wife, lover and friend.

I AM all colours, of all nations
All cultures, multi-generational
And multi-faceted; I AM of
The past, present and future—
Yours, mine and of all creation
Keeper of the living and the dead
Holder of memories and dreams.

I AM your agony and your ecstasy
Bearer of standard and sword
Bestower of life and death
I am your fantasy, your nightmare
and your reality —
The tapestry of every dream
I am Madonna and Lolita.

I AM the woman with no voice
No rights, no choice, no vote—
Who works your sweatshops
And in rice fields; in camps
I ply my bitter trade, as the
Village dust swallows my
Faith, strangles my words.

I AM shamed to silence
Beaten on the sands of whim
Violated in body and soul
Then forced to wed my rapist
Babies ripped from my womb
And yet crucified because
Of their very existence.

I AM the slave and the harlot
The despised and the cast-off
The mutilated and diseased
Segregated and displaced
For the sake of possession
And in the name of honour.

I AM warrior and defender
Of hearts and souls; hope for
All the children of earth—
I AM the heart of nature
Protector of every living soul
And all who desire to become
One with their life’s journey.

I AM what we have made me
Yet, in spite of all that, I AM
What I have made of myself
Also, in my breath and my body
As man’s wars rage on and my
Spirit clings to hope, to love,
I AM — the essence of woman.

© Julie Catherine Vigna 2013

*****

We have had this one knocking about in our inbox for a while now, and we’ve been waiting for the right time to post it. Seeing as today is International Womens Day, we thought this would be a good day to feature this one by Julie. Taking its cues from some of the greatest female poets, this piece can almost be said to be a feminist call to arms, with its use of almost mystical imagery. A brave, strikingly relevant piece of poetry.

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