"I am hearing poetry when awake, dreaming poetry when asleep, breathing poetry with each breath, I am living in a poem."

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Price of Poetry


Bare feet wait
for a poem.
She prays stones
won’t silence
the telephone.


Protest uses a pen name
when death plans a wedding.
She doesn’t know her age
because there are no calendar
dates for tulips.


Torn poems brought a flame
when blood asked for a number.
I am the new Rahila, record my voice
so death won’t come without a memento.


There are no pennies for a tape recorder.
She relies on ink to capture sound.
Brave journals have feminine pages
torn from lips questioning God.

 ©Susie Clevenger 2015

NaPoWriMo ~ Day 12

My poetry comes from the inspiration of Wallace Stevens and the Afghan women who risk death to write poetry. 


ccchampagne said...

There are so many things wrong with this world... *sigh* And anyone not being allowed free thought (to me that's pretty much what writing poetry is - thoughts more than speech) is a crime against life! I feel the grittiness of this poem... Very moving!

grapeling said...

powerful, thoughtful, and needed ~

Grandmother (Mary) said...

The stories in that article are staggering and you capture their brave terror well.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Thank you for the link to the story of the Afghan poets. We can forget, in the West, what poetry can do, and what it can cost. Your poem beautifully evokes their stories and situation.

Debi Swim said...

Very good Susie. Something I take for granted cost others all.

Björn Rudberg said...

Wonderful anger.. a fist with white knuckles in the pocket.. so much we should do so few that listen...

Outlawyer said...

Susie--I also saw that article--it is beautiful and inspiring as is your poem. Thanks.

That first stanza so moving and of course the close-at first I'd not focused on the title and pics and had not seem the name rahula--I may not have it right--so the stones and the phone--really struck me anyway, but couldn't catch it. Agh. So painful. k.

Gillena Cox said...

i particularly luv the last verse and i thought of Malala Yousafzai

much love...

hedgewitch said...

That second stanza brought a physical tightness to my throat--among all the other indignities that women in these countries suffer, to not even have the ability to react or state or question it all in the outlet of writing a poem is terrifying.

Sanaa Rizvi said...

Extremely intense & powerful..!
Loved it :)

Sumana Roy said...

Thanks for the link Susie...you've also given your voice to their plight so powerfully...

Grace said...

I too have read that article and I am very moved by these brave women ~ I pray and hope their voices will never be silent by stones nor death ~

Thanks for linking up with Sunday's challenge & wishing you happy week!

Kerry O'Connor said...

Such a powerful story which should be celebrated by women the world over.
Each stanza is perfectly balanced and together the piece resounds.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

The price of poetry indeed. The plight of the Afghan women poets is sobering. We forget sometimes how lucky we are. The format of your poem works really well for its content. I especially admire "there are no calendar dates for tulips".

Mark Kerstetter said...

Nice tribute. The Afghan women are very inspiring.

Marian said...

Whoosh, Susie-- excellent.

Jim said...

I had to see what the prompt author would write, Susie. She did very well. I feel for those Afghan poets, if I were one I would make my escape to Iran. Keep my religion and have freedom both.
Are there clandestine male poets as well? I would imagine there are some. But writing would be one of the few outlets for the ladies.

Ella said...


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