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Epistles For Silenced Women

Updated: Mar 12

i. for penelope

O web-weaver, you are in truth

a wily woman, couched in the demeanour

of an ideal wife. behind your loom

you may cower, shirking from the suitors

over which you have no power, these men

who wreak rack and ruin upon your kingdom,

who humiliate you in your husband’s house.

even your scarcely-grown son seeks to silence you!

Is speech not the business of men and men alone?

Return at once to

your sisyphean shroud! Let the grass grow over the

ruins of your household, all you can do now

is bide your time.

the heart of a wife is locked behind the loom,

weaving herself into her husband’s shadow.

weaving herself into the ideal woman--

to be seen, but never heard.

but beneath your facade beats

the heart of a lover devoted--

will your Ulysses return, o Wife?

the heart of a hero is transparent from his muthos--

he sleeps with goddesses, he outwits beasts,

you sing prayers and praises so that the victor may come home,

and sing in turn of fierce battles, galloping horses and guile,

fields and earth where Troy once stood.

yet the victor is absent; the hero famed for his mind

forgets more and more his own. it is you