Fearful Women by Carolyn Kizer

Arms and the girl I sing - O rare
arms that are braceleted and white and bare

arms that were lovely Helen's, in whose name
Greek slaughtered Trojan. Helen was to blame.

Scape-nanny call her; wars for turf
and profit don't sound glamorous enough.

Mythologize your women! None escape.
Europe was named from an act of bestial rape:

Eponymous girl on bull-back, he intent
on scattering sperm across a continent.

Old Zeus refused to take the rap.
It's not his name in big print on the map.

But let's go back to the beginning
when sinners didn't know that they were sinning.

He, one rib short: she lived to rue it
when Adam said to God, "She made me do it."

Eve learned that learning was a dangerous thing
for her: no end of trouble would it bring.

An educated woman is a danger.
Lock up your mate! Keep a submissive stranger

like Darby's Joan, content with church and Kinder,
not like that sainted Joan, burnt to a cinder.

Whether we wield a scepter or a mop
It's clear you fear that we may get on top.

And if we do -I say it without animus-
It's not from you we learned to be magnaminous.

by Carolyn Kizer

Other poems by 'Carolyn Kizer'

Poet's Household

A Song for Muriel

American Beauty

Cultural Evolution

Days of 1986

Mud Soup

On a Line From Valery

On a Line from Valery (The Gulf War)

Parent's Pantoum

Reunion

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