Poem | "Misogyny" by Gwyneth Lewis

Poem | “Misogyny” by Gwyneth Lewis

Two weeks ago, pollster website FiveThirtyEight.com published a poll that revealed if only white men were eligible to vote in the upcoming United States General Election, Donald Trump would win. Former National Poet of Wales, author and celebrated essayist Gwyneth Lewis has a relationship with America and its literary and academic scene going back over 30 years. Now, as that nation stares down the barrel of perhaps the most contentious general election in its history, the appalling revelations that have come about during the campaign of the Republican Party nominee Donald Trump seem to reveal something deeper and wider in western society. In this new poem, published exclusively in Wales Arts Review, Lewis responds to the misogyny that has risen to the surface.

 

Misogyny

 for Amy Hungerford

 

I see you, great literary men, holding a party
Just beyond me. You are loving and greeting
Each other while I’m caught in the junk room
Of your misogynies: mahogany furniture
Shipped from crises on older continents,

Is blocking my way. Massive and polished,
They shine in the gloom, recalcitrant. Grand
Lyrical Men who tried to fuck me
(You know who you are) I see you wave in
Those who you favour, leaving me pinned

To the wall by a linen press. Brass teeth,
Ferocious, snap at my nipples. An insistent caster
Sucks at my mouth, while a cabriole leg
Juts up my jacksie. Aggressive chattels
Of others’ unstated fears. What do you see

In me so disgusts you? What has to be
Fucked then blotted out so that you
Can bear it? That you were babies once,
Helpless? That the world’s a bad breast, doesn’t
Obey? Or, horror of horrors, the will

Doesn’t work and power’s beside the point.
Grow up. This is your junk and I refuse it. From
My dead end, I see others in traps of ice
And iron, we wave at each other, we’re coming,
Your days are numbered. So will we project

Onto you, make you a hedgehog, pierced
By your furniture’s splintering? No.
Look, here’s my mother’s clothes horse,
What if we cover it with a blanket
Making a room where anyone may play,
And learn not being afraid together?

 

 

(Photo credit: Keith Morris)