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Radical feminism emphasises the patriarchal roots of inequality, with men placed as ‘unsolicited Gods’. This poem offers us a deeply personal view of feminism.
My love, we sing a different song,
Born into the revolution of female birth.
We have laboured in war, as your thorn of love
pierced our core, made us bleed.
Oh men, comrades or rhythmic reminders—
Did the thorn pierce your hearts too?
Our radical feminism holds us in transitions,
From the haunted sadness of thwarted births
To the restlessness of love letters and coquetry,
From the Radha led astray by Krishna’s flute
To the Kunti bearing Karna, her first love-child,
Tears, epic-like silences, the wet world of wombs,
Blooming anew with pleasures fought for,
Traded with momentous strife.
Oh men, comrades, we hear you’ve carved our destinies,
Rowed our boats since our mothers have borne us.
We hear your love is our elixir, your scornful abuses
Our poison. Comrades, we don’t know who chose you
As our unsolicited Gods, in this colonised, unaccustomed earth.
Our radical feminism is our desire to be whole,
Between nameless atoms and the magic of our sculpted presence.
Oh men, comrades in our twilight sky of unending love,
We have been scalded by your liberated, sunlit bodies,
The smug embrace of your masculine arms, the pride
Of us love-sick women, cocooning our nihilism.
Comrades, our souls have been nourished by your fire, your ice,
Our radical feminism—the naiveté and necessity
Our grandmothers and their grandmothers never knew,
The skin of sex and the crescendo of our revolution
Our daughters and their daughters and their daughters will adorn.
I crave to fight and make love, comrade, as sports played by equals!
My love, I hope to merge your roof with my sky,
Your temple with my shrine, your water with my earth.
We, the remnants of blood and earth are changing,
Our rivers gushing, forcing down before you.
Our radical feminism is not a style statement of postmodern longings.
Wasn’t the blood of disrobed Draupadi feminism enough?
Weren’t the coarse wars and solitude of the oldest women scribes
The earliest jargons of feminism?
Wasn’t the enraged, trembling body of Sita
Returning to Mother Earth’s core a feminist chanting?
Didn’t the bold strokes of women, and men entering their moist core
In Khajuraho, in Konark sow the earliest seeds of feminism blossoms?
Oh men, comrades, let your mothers teach you to strip your pride
With your first baby steps, to come to us with a new love born within you,
A wet, nourishing love of the Ardha-narishwar, the half-man, the half-woman,
Embracing our spirits warm, our cogent fire, the palimpsest of our scars.
Author’s note: Radical feminism is a topic very close to my heart, and quite a number of my poems and essays are centered on my expressions as a feminist poet and thinker. ‘Comrades of Radical Feminism’ was a theme-based writing prompt given in The Significant League, an online literary group, and I chose to write this poem, inspired by this writing prompt, focusing on a woman’s body, her longings and her expressions as a feminist scribe/poet/artist.
Picture credits: Christopher Dombres, used under a Creative Commons license
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Lopa Banerjee is an author, editor, translator and faculty of Creative Writing at Richland College,
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