Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Whistling girls and crowing hens . . .

I never understood
why I couldn't whistle
or strut.
I stuck my nose
as deep as anyone
into books,
even as my blonde hair
and breasts
labelled me bimbo.
And then I did
finally understand:
No woman on the moon.
no Amazon won my battles.
Stone by stone and
step by step,
I learned camoflage,
how to talk football,
how to run meetings,
how to push down walls
and rise to my own ends.

This prompt comes from Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides. Choose an adage, make that adage the title of your poem. I instantly remembered hearing my mother tell me as a young girl that "Whistling girls and crowing hens come to bad ends." That wasn't quite as bad as "men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses," but I always felt I could whistle if I wanted to. This poem comes out of that rebellious time when I did have blonde hair, worked by day at a conservative bank, and at night, went to college.