Dr. Margaret Saine, USA


female birds
what is it about them
we thought they couldn’t sing
Darwin said so
only males sang
male song was only
to attract females

And we women poets
covered our heads in shame
feeling like usurpers and
wondering about strange Sappho
and other female delinquents
while male poets
inventing stories about us
painted us into a corner
their corner
as muses silently coaxing out
their male poems
about ourselves

It is nice
to serve as a midwife
for male writing
--any poem really is
an improvement of human life—
but we women wanted
to have our own voice

And then they told us
that female birds don’t sing
But now we know better
Female birds sing birdsong
just as males do

Hello male poets!
Here we come!
Women poets! 


            A gentle heart is tied with an easy thread.
                                                             George Herbert

She holds in her fingers
a thread and wraps it around her index
unwraps it into an untidy skein
a warp to rewrap it again

Her right fingers stroke
the fingers of her left hand
the opposite of Buddha’s
a wind ruffling the fronds of palms
playfully subsiding and starting up again
when warm and cold air clash
to play their life game as wind

Women having to do with threads
Ariadne Penelope and many others
as we today
Sappho Cassandra and Pythia
hold their word threads
in the foretold sequence:
the burden of words in a necklace of beads
a rosary none other than pain and sorrow
told to male poets

Plump vowels dissected
by sputtering consonants
speech bubbles erupting like pearls
emerge from a deep-conch sea
crunched to expel them

To make us gasp
and grasp the meaning
of stories as spacers
pacemakers of life
--read peacemakers--
there for us to accept with a smile
the stoking of fire but containing it

And in the news today
‘Unidentified amnesiac woman
found today in California’


What men feed
with their blood
is a war to be torn

What women feed
with their blood is
a child to be born

Male war blood
is supposedly

What about
the menstrual kind?
the placenta?

Women need to
remind the world
again and again

Remind each man
of his birth
again and again


                   La femme n’a d’amis que ses songes.
                   A woman’s only friends are her dreams.
                                                             -Jules Michelet

We were not thought of
we were despised
disposed-of and
pushed into corners
mental and otherwise
No bonus of being
a woman of woman born
quite otherwise
We forged then were forced
to forget the womb
all the dreams we had
We were not given the facts
we were given stories
older than Methusalah can remember
of Snow White, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty
tied, tried and true
to extricate from them
what women were
might be, or become
We were allowed to puzzle out
our often-dire fate
with Pythia Cassandra and Ariadne
Like ignorant poets
and lazy kings
we [being neither lazy nor ignorant]
were forced to invent
our lives out of
not whole and not new cloth
but from a stale barnstorm of spiderwebs
snowed-in like dandelion fluff
[dandruff fluff]
snowed out of our lives
in difficulty of our self-birth
our becoming

And we made it
we are making it

Dr. Margaret Saine was born in Germany and lives in California. She has taught French and Hispanic literatures and writes in five languages, also translating other poets between these languages. Her books of poetry in English are “Bodyscapes,” “Words of Art,” “Lit Angels,” and “Gardens of the Earth.” Saine has also published four poetry books and a childhood memoir in Germany. She has written over 4000 haiku and has several manuscripts in Italian, French and Spanish ready for publication.

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