The poem I have chosen for inspiration today is by one of the most celebrated African American poets, Gwendolyn Brooks. Her poem “We Real Cool” has been widely read. If you haven’t, do read it. It will be worth your 30 seconds. It is fetchy catchy with a direct message that hits hard. However, the poem from Gwendolyn which I have chosen today is “Sadie and Maud”.
Sadie and Maud
Maud went to college.
Sadie stayed at home.
Sadie scraped life
With a fine-tooth comb.
She didn’t leave a tangle in.
Her comb found every strand.
Sadie was one of the livingest chits
In all the land.
Sadie bore two babies
Under her maiden name.
Maud and Ma and Papa
Nearly died of shame.
When Sadie said her last so-long
Her girls struck out from home.
(Sadie had left as heritage
Her fine-tooth comb.)
Maud, who went to college,
Is a thin brown mouse.
She is living all alone
In this old house.
Source: Poetry Foundation
The poem is the story of two sisters, Maud who follows the societal norms and Sadie who lives life to the fullest on her own terms. It highlights the double bind that society poses on women. I agreed with this interpretation of this poem best. The feeling of ’damned if you do, damned if you don’t” inspired my poem.
she struts around in her short short shorts.
Whore! rape her! rape her!
she hunches with oiled hair and jasmine flowers,
yet another ignorable village mutt
she is dark
how dare she turn down ‘a man’?
she earned an MBA and a PhD.
she will die single someday
she decided to be a housewife.
What a waste of her time
she wanted to go to work.
Get a grip on your home first.
she worked and played and mothered
No wonder the husband disappeared
she got a nanny
Why did she have any children
she went back to work after a break
Pay her pennies
she does yoga, lunch dates, and laughs loudly
she has no responsibility
she spoke her mind
she lived heartily, advocating choice
They choked in their own vomitgossip, by day and by night.
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