Below is a lyrical poem that highlights the strength and beauty all women possess as we “dance circles around the sun.” This is a piece that touches on topics of feminism, abuse, and empowerment, and encourages all women to embrace themselves for the “artwork” that they are.
I remember seeing that woman,
dance circles around the sun.
she danced until the moon woke each night;
until the day was done.
I miss seeing that girl,
with violet eyes that told,
as they glistened while she spoke.
That woman looked like a painting,
and her lips were honey thick,
they spoke the language
of tired eyes,
and of truths and lies;
her words knew how to stick.
Her voice could move mountains-
she taught us how to sing.
She told us girls,
with wild curls,
that we could alway win.
seeing that woman,
charge up and down the street,
singing the tune of our people
as she clapped and stomped her feet.
The music was outrageous,
the girls began to stomp
we all began to stomp.
She charged us down the streets,
her voice was loud and proud,
she sang of lies,
and of tired eyes,
she stormed right through the crowd.
She sang with us until evening,
and we watched the setting sun.
She kissed us all upon our heads,
and thanked us for such fun.
She marched with us for days and days,
but what we did not know,
was that every night she marched her way
into a sad and broken home.
Her voice was always muted,
she floated as she walked,
for fear that he would hear her speak the language,
of the people he was not.
She spoke of peace and lovers,
and that was far from he;
he was a man of hatred –
a pitiless machine.
He made her dance in circles,
but not around the sun;
she danced until his sweat drenched body,
rolled off her when he was done.
He forced her to stay quiet,
with a hand around her throat.
He punished her with smacks and blows,
any time she spoke,
because the songs she sang,
made that man go numb.
Her honey thick lips reminded of him,
of the harm that he had done.
She knew that he was frightened,
of the power she held within,
so every time he raised his hand,
she looked at him and grinned.
I’ll never understand that,
why she fell victim to that man;
for she was the women who could move mountains,
with the words that she sang.
She stayed in that home for ages,
and she didn’t say a word,
of the horrors she experienced,
behind those closed oak doors.
It was not until we were older,
that we noticed the scars of her fight,
because when she came to sing one day,
the bruises were clear in sight.
We asked her who had done it –
she wouldn’t give a name,
she simply just denied the questions
of our guessing game.
The bruises became darker,
her voice was growing hoarse,
and yet she sang and marched and stomped,
with the same valour and the same force.
But we were no longer singing,
we tried to make her stop,
but she denied out protest and said to us,
that the music would stop when she dropped.
And that is exactly what happened,
one evening in July,
she sang and stomped until she dropped;
I watched that woman die.
I’ll always remember that moment,
her beauty frozen in time.
I observed the artwork I held in my arms,
I saw the paint marks on her thighs.
Her body was a canvas,
and it was covered in paint –
paint marks that hid bruises;
a smile painted on her face.
I’ll always remember that woman,
with those violet purple eyes;
the woman who could inspire –
who fed us with her lies.
She lied so she could help us,
that us women could move mountains,
and that we were not defined
I remember seeing that women,
dance circles around the sun,
and as I sing and stomp my feet,
I hope to finish,
what she’s begun.
I am a woman, and although I have never faced struggles such as sexual abuse (and Inshallah I never will), I will admit that I have faced my own oppressions. I am a woman of colour; a combination of two brilliant races that highlight strength and resilience of my people. On one end, I come from a long line of Pakistani women – fighters who fought for education, who have graced me with knowledge of the religion of Islam; a faith that has liberated me throughout the entirety of my life. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the blood of Latin American women courses through my veins. These were the women who taught me the importance of handwork and encouraged me to embrace my culture through the Spanish language (a language that I find I am sometimes more articulate in), and it was through the influence of these women that I learned to love the caramel colour of my skin. All these women: my mother, my sister, my cousins, my aunts, my grandmothers, my great-grandmothers and so forth, have taught me to be proud of my gender – and further – my cultures. I am forever thankful for these women.
To any of those who know me, you will know that I am beyond proud of my heritages. They shape me – they establish the foundations of my being, however, they do not define me.
I am a woman of colour yes, but I am not solely defined by the pigmentation of my skin, much like the women in this piece is not solely defined by her history with abuse.
This piece centres around the story of one woman who acts as a leader to all other women. She encourages girls to approach life in a “fight the power” type of way as she liberates and commands young ladies to take action and stand up for themselves, despite the fact that she is an abuse victim herself. It is important to note that the woman in this story does not choose to conceal her abuse, but rather retaliates by not letting her abuser get the best of her. The lines “She knew that he was frightened/ of the power she held within/ so every time he raised his hand/ she looked at him and grinned.” are representative of the woman’s power she posses over the man, as she remains proud and does not lessen herself, despite his attempts to make her small. The women in the poem is known for her “dance around the sun”, which is symbolic of the joy she has in life, and the “light” she sees for herself in the dark realm of her reality. Her body is related to a painting, as if to showcase the individuality and beauty that lies within her, and enforces the idea of ‘do not touch’ – something her abuser does not seem to understand. She dances her way to her grave as she is determined to prove that she is more than her bruises and scars, and wants to prove that sexual abuse (and all other forms of oppression) should never define an woman.
I wrote this piece to provide a different view of abuse and the oppression – an alternate perspective if you will. After a brief study of “Theatre of the Oppressed” in drama, I was captivated by the idea of fighting the power, rather that dwelling in the silence. I am a woman who advocates for equal rights; a lady who would rather face the wrath of those who do not respect what I have to say about the beauty of my gender, rather than hide in the fear of speaking up. I wrote this poem to affect my readers, both feminine and male. I want my female readers to understand the power they posses – after all, us women have the power to “move mountains”. Ladies need a reminder of their worth, and I often find, that that may be accomplished through writing. Reading is the greatest teacher, and so I felt as though, writing a piece that highlights the strengths within women would be inspiring to those who read it, and it would teach them a thing or two about their worth (if they did not already know it!). As for my male readers, I think that it is important that they read this piece and really consider the subject matter. I am not a firm believer in punishment, but rather a believer in education as a means to solve issues. I want the males who read piece not to feel threatened by the content, but rather educated on the burdens us women have to bear.
I am a woman of colour, and I have been shamed for both my races and my religions, my age, my height, my body size, and even my name in the course of my lifetime. In recent years, I have experienced harassment from men in the form racial profiling, sexual slurs and innuendos, and even blatant acts of racism, but like the woman in this poem, I have chosen to not be defined by these experiences; after all, the wisdom that pours from my “honey thick lips” should not be wasted on those who do not wish to appreciate what I have to say. I know I am beautiful, and I do not say that in a narcissistic way. I am beautiful because besides my face and my physique, I posses the mind, heart, and spirit, of a warrior. I am beautiful because of the fact that I accept my imperfections, and grasp opportunities for growth. I am beautiful because I understand that my oppressions do not define me, and it is my hope that after reading this piece, I inspire others to feel the same, for we are “The women who dance in circles around the sun,” and that is something that will never change.