modern woman

TODAY’S WOMAN

Today’s woman is not a woman.

She’s a man

Who steps across my threshold by lure:

Who beguiles me into servile reticence

With the subtlety

Of a bloodless coup d’état.

 

She’s not like mama

Who bows with snow-white hair

To scrub the kitchen floor,

Who knows the right place

For the kettle and the pan

After each and every use,

Who still understands

The language of the suckling

That clutches up

At hay-dry breasts,

In whose charms and grace

Father still basks blessedly,

Whose gentle love

Gets the lion to crawl,

Whose kindness

We and the world trumpet

Upon mountain tops.

 

Today’s woman is not a woman.

She’s a man

Who hides granite balls

Under furry hide,

Who is more erudite than me,

And has become wiser also.

No wonder

She no longer

Stirs my balls,

Neither my brains.

But how could she?

She’s a man

Who does not cry tears

That melt the heart.

She’s a man

Full of bones and nerves.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

This poem was written by me in Benin City, Nigeria, in 1994, during one of the forced vacations of the University of Port Harcourt. As usual, I spent the vacation with my uncle who lived in Benin. At a point I had become so put off by my uncle’s new wife’s seemingly patronizing attitude. I couldn’t help entertaining other strands of thoughts some of which considered the possibility that the quest of the modern woman for gender equality might also upset certain natural equilibria that always existed between men and women.