MUSED
BellaOnline Literary Review
Hummingbird by Lisa Shea

Table of Contents

Poetry


Mind Your Tongue

Linda B. Gamble

Women’s voices
have long been silenced
in public or private
by coercion, culture, custom
in countries, boardrooms, classrooms, homes -
women as chattel,
women belittled,
women ignored.

Yet words break through. In China
Hunan Province, Nu Shu defiance,
mother tongue, centuries old,
taught, spoken, sung, written,
by females only -
mother to daughter,
sister to sister,
friend to friend.

Afghanistan- female poets’
tongues cautious, but untied,
Israeli/Palestinian women unite,
share call for peace, a Pakistani
school girl yearns to learn,
speaks out, inspires millions.

Western constraints more subtle
nuanced language of business, backroom,
bedroom, leverages expectations
to please, appease, accept.
Lean In, Sandberg urges,
claim what’s yours.

Women’s wisdom,
whispered – shouted.
Silence shattered.

• Nu Shu is a centuries old language known only to women




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