Women Poetry: Dr. Sangeeta Sharma, India

Exclusive: Women Poetry: Edited by Padmaja Iyengar-Paddy
Sangeeta Sharma

THE LAUGH OF MEDUSA: A LYRICAL RESPONSE

Why was Medusa cursed into a monster?
Because men feared female desire
Men retell the myth and turn Medusa into a monster
Says Cixous, for women - it’s a call to arms, 
To reclaim their identity through writing.
Rejecting the patriarchal society of western culture, she urges women to
‘Writing’ that will give women an access to her innate strength
It will bring back her desires and her organs. 

I find Medusa and her laughter fascinating:

Gorgon Medusa, is the empowered self of woman
Her repulsive appearance comes to her aid 
Ironically, Athena’s curse becomes a blessing to her 
Makes her capable of protecting herself by bringing down her gazers to ashes instantly
The innate self of Medusa is beautiful
It is the visage that becomes monstrous and ugly!
Medusa is aware of the healing curse.
She knows she’s beautiful within and she laughs.

In the contemporary times, she can be an icon for the victims of clitorectomy, acid-throwing, burn-survivors, rape-victims and all traumatised women.
*** 


MEDUSA, SLAYER OF PERSEUS

Gorgon Medusa, daughter of the ancient marine deities, Phorcys and Ceto
Is a fascinating, recurrent figure of classical mythology
The naked effigy of the only mortal Gorgon installed in New York City
The1,000-pound bronze sculpture,
A re-imagined version of Medusa 
Stands tall at the Collect Pond Park
Medusa’s visage is now the new symbol of female rage
For feminists
The beautiful maiden who was raped by the most powerful Greek Gods, Poseidon
Forcibly and then punished for desecrating
The temple by Athena, the powerful Goddess 
Blamed and transformed her into a monstrous beast with venomous snakes as hair
As well as a gaze that could still men into stone
The Greek God Perseus later killed her
And displayed her head on his shield as a trophy.
Enough of victim-shaming!
The new effigy in the New York park gives justice to the rape-victim
Depicts her as completely empowered as she holds Perseus’ severed head in defiance
This empowered self of Gorgon Medusa guides us through our terrors,
Lifts us from the dark depths of fear 
And emboldens us to draw the sources of our power-of our power as women. 
***


Dr. Sangeeta Sharma is the Associate Editor of Setu, a bilingual international peer-reviewed journal and former head, department of English, B.K. Birla College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Kalyan, an autonomous college affiliated to the University of Mumbai. She has authored two books and edited six anthologies on poetry, fiction and criticism (solo and joint) and two workbooks on communication. One of her books is listed as a reference at Clayton State University, USA.

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