I only ever knew her as that woman
that pathetic creature whose husband sold her,
lost her in a game of dice to his fiercest enemy,
his cousins, all one hundred of them.
They brought her into the room and stripped her
slowly unravelling her modesty, her marriage,
any grain of dignity she might have held on to
silk falling away from skin, from slender waist
lotus-lips pressed in silent prayer, eyes lowered,
away from those who claimed her as a prize,
once before in honor, now again in shame,
indistinguishable in this moment of gray.
They watched her, the Wise one, the Brave one,
the Strong, the Fair, the Loving, neutered by
dharma and karma and all that makes men
go to war, to pick up arms against the innocent.
But was she? Was she this caricature,
this composite of feminine passivity,
this plaything of the Gods, helpless
to stop the wave from beating the shore?
Was she fair, and light, and yielding
dull as a penny worn down from barter
dumb in service of another’s brilliance
too weak to lift her gaze or spine?
She knew what she wanted and when
one couldn’t fill all fourteen graces
she married five, each one grateful
for sweet morsel offered by moonlight
She spun a life more satisfying
for the guile of it, the dance of it
She kept a lover on this side, a Knight
and a friend on the other, a Fool
She wanted the war, the genocide
She let them use her body
to excuse themselves, to explain
why brother killing brother is right
She removed the blindfold that separates
man from animal, beauty from beast
She exposed the skeleton that pain, pleasure,
poverty, plentitude is but a sleight of hand.
Inspired by The Palace of Illusions ~ Chitra Bannerjee Divakaruni
Napowrimo Day # 2
write a poem based on a non-Greco-Roman myth. You could write a poem inspired byNorse mythology, or perhaps by one of these creatures from Japanese legend.
Photo Credit: http://thebanyantrees.com/wp-content/themes/DelicateNews/timthumb.php?src=/images/draupadi-10.jpg&h=238&w=238&zc=1