Initiator: Dina Bogan – Fishwife
Initiator Artist: Dina Bogan
Artwork Title: Fishwife
Size: 12 x 12″
Responder Author: Suellen Cox
Writing Title: Prose Poem for Erinna
“I moan with a blush to grieve….
Old women voice the mortal bloom….
One cries out the lamenting flame….”
Erinna of Telos
How to measure one woman’s body, all women’s bodies? Honor the forgotten, the maligned, and lay bare the erased? How to measure the power, the fragility of earth, our home, our mother Gaia debased?
Woman-to-woman can we still blaze emboldened, loud and brash as a fish wife, can we navigate the fierce fault-lines, the lies, the violence, and uncover or rediscover our native stories, centuries of lifetimes, of lives?
How to measure the power of Iztaccihuatl, honor the dazzling flames of Rincon de la Vieja, rising hot magma collecting, and firing the imagination, the travels, the earthquake tremor of necessary words, the warnings and brief life of Katia Kraftt?
I ask you, can we still shout, misbehave, and create a more verdant green place? Echoing shadows are long, and confluences deep. Can we howl the injustice of Hester’s red letter? The violence wrought, on tender young bodies in Flanders amongst fields of red poppies?
How to measure the words heard though often dismissed, those stolen or lost, the Red List? Mothers deserted, children cast off. Rachael Carson warned early of our planet adrift. We dream of seas rising, forests ablaze, and ubiquitous smoke. Unremitting red flames searing memories, ash raining on oaks.
An artful Vesuvius at home (though no Cassandra in Amhurst), Emily could not have augured the plundering of her natural world, one woman’s body, all women’s bodies.
Instead, witnessing for tender nascent blades of grass, the beauty of amanita muscaria, and spring buds like tiny ivory pearls emerging abundant on the plum tree. Gathering her
words, she quietly composed and stitched, smoldering poetry which inspired the writing of yet another woman poet Adrienne Rich who despaired, lamented and said,
“I suddenly see the world as no longer viable.”
How to measure those who hold with dominance, lust, unbridled power, the agenda of greed, and negligent plans for profit and loss? Who will care and stridently speak, for a diversity of animals, the birds, and the air? How to measure the distance, then the resolve, hurling words against silent apathy, what is now, and will, in the future be lost?
When will we, fishwives, all gather, concur, and embrace Angela Davis’s righteous anger, moral outrage? When will we, like Adrienne in vehemence speak, for the marginalized, the maligned, dispossessed and the weak?
How to measure one woman’s life under threat? How to measure the lives of children under threat? How to measure the depth and the breadth of countless species heading toward complete obliteration? Of some entirely gone? How to measure the human race under threat of the sixth extinction?
Say it LOUD.
How can we measure how much loss is enough?
How long can we grieve, how long can we last?
© 2023 Suellen Cox