Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Voice

Daniella Zalcman’s project “Signs of Your Identity” explores
the legacy of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools

 Image by Daniella Zalcman. Canada, 2015

“When people don't express themselves, they die one piece at a time.” 

“. . . she was afraid of hearing her own voice come out of her heart and be covered with blood. . . . ” 

"Powerlessness and silence go together.” 

“. . . . only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. 
And that is not speaking.” 

"Cop in the Head"
Graphic by Morgan Andrews
Philadelphia Theatre of the Oppressed

Midweek Motif ~ Voice

In this motif, voice is not a literary technique, but the willingness to speak from a specific point of view despite fear of consequences.  That is today's theme: the bravery or bravado of insisting on having a voice.

According to Voltaire, "“Writing is the painting of the voice.”  I love the ambiguity of this definition when applied to today's motif:  Does "the voice" paint?  Does writing paint "the voice"?  

Your Challenge:  In your new poem, paint a voice and make us hear it.  


― excerpt from Woman and Nature: 

“He says that woman speaks with nature. That she hears voices from under the earth. That wind blows in her ears and trees whisper to her. That the dead sing through her mouth and the cries of infants are clear to her. But for him this dialogue is over. He says he is not part of this world, that he was set on this world as a stranger. He sets himself apart from woman and nature.

And so it is Goldilocks who goes to the home of the three bears, Little Red Riding Hood who converses with the wolf, Dorothy who befriends a lion, Snow White who talks to the birds, Cinderella with mice as her allies, the Mermaid who is half fish, Thumbelina courted by a mole. (And when we hear in the Navajo chant of the mountain that a grown man sits and smokes with bears and follows directions given to him by squirrels, we are surprised. We had thought only little girls spoke with animals.)

We are the bird's eggs. Bird's eggs, flowers, butterflies, rabbits, cows, sheep; we are caterpillars; we are leaves of ivy and sprigs of wallflower. We are women. We rise from the wave. We are gazelle and doe, elephant and whale, lilies and roses and peach, we are air, we are flame, we are oyster and pearl, we are girls. We are woman and nature. And he says he cannot hear us speak.

But we hear.” 

"There's machinery in the butterfly; 
There's a mainspring to the bee; 
There's hydraulics to a daisy, 
And contraptions to a tree. 

"If we could see the birdie 
That makes the chirping sound 
With x-ray, scientific eyes, 
We could see the wheels go round." 

And I hope all men 
Who think like this 
Will soon lie 
so he said: you ain’t got no talent   
    if you didn’t have a face   
    you wouldn’t be nobody

and she said: god created heaven and earth   
    and all that’s Black within them

so he said: you ain’t really no hot shit   
    they tell me plenty sisters   
    take care better business than you

and she said: on the third day he made chitterlings   
    and all good things to eat   
    and said: “that’s good”

so he said: if the white folks hadn’t been under   
    yo skirt and been giving you the big play
    you’d a had to come on uptown like everybody else

and she replied: then he took a big Black greasy rib
    from adam and said we will call this woeman and her   
    name will be sapphire and she will divide into four parts   
    that simone may sing a song

and he said: you pretty full of yourself ain’t chu

so she replied: show me someone not full of herself   
    and i’ll show you a hungry person


Please share your new poem using Mr. Linky below and visit others in the spirit of the community—

    (Next week Sumana’s Motif will be ~ Carpe Diem / Seize the Day)


  1. Thanks for the wonderful prompt Susan. Happy Wednesday to you all :)

    1. Good morning, Sumana. I'm tired, but happy to be here and to see you here, too. Have a wonderful week.

    2. Sending my best wishes to you Susan.

  2. Good morning, friends. I love the Susan Griffin quote! I am inspired by the voices of the young in response to the latest shooting. (Isnt it terrible to say "the latest?) They are tired of waiting for "leaders" to lead. I am hopeful for these leaders of tomorrow.

    1. I think you'd like the entire book, still powerful though from the radical feminism of the 1970s. I'm excited that youth are tired of waiting. It is a war of sorts.

  3. I like the quotes and extract you have shared for this prompt, Susan. Funnily enough, I can see some links to the poem I prepared before seeing the prompt - I just knew that the word was voice!

    1. Good, good, to be so inspired you are ahead of the game! I truly enjoyed pulling these poems together.

  4. Loved the prompt, Susan 💞 sharing my poem 'Of a world gone'.. hope you like it. Happy Midweek everyone!💞

    1. Thank you, Sanaa. Of course I like it, in your fine romantic voice!

  5. I love the prompt, Susan. Been months since I joined here or wrote in general. Hope to link up regularly. Have a great week ahead everyone. :)

    1. Thank you! You are very welcomehere, and I hope you do come by regularly. Midweek is our one prompt, and then we also have a pantry on Sunday for posting one of yours that needs a home. The rest of the week is pure inspiration--featured poets and poems and interviews that always inspire me.

  6. Very interesting prompt, i really luv the Nikki Giovanni poem which i have read here for the first time. Happy Wednesday every one. Thank you Susan for Today's prompt

    much love...

    1. I was very excited to find this Giovanni poem which was also new to me. Perfect for "voice"! Happy week, Gillena.

  7. Wish I could have joined in as my poem for Sunday is perfect for the theme today

    1. Maybe another will come to you. I';ll have to go and check out your Monday poem.

  8. Another great prompt,Susan. You'll be inundated - considering you're asking poets to write about "voice". I can't wait to read them all. Happy Wednesday everyone!

    1. Love your enthusiasm! I hope to read many, many different takes on "voice" today.

  9. Thanks for the prompt Susan and the interesting post that comes with it.
    Anna :o]

  10. Evening, Poets! Thanks, Susan! Voice is so important, especially in times like these. Hopefully, my tanka-prose bears witness to this. Enjoy!

    1. Total witness. A new favorite of mine! Have a good week!

  11. Good Afternoon Everyone, penned a poem titled "Unveil Silence". Hope you all like it :)


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