Tag Archives: mysogeny

Handmaiden

chisels_1

A sharp scent from the heart of the wood
takes her ever back to the room where inanimate sex —
dishonestly donned in beauty’s disguise —
was chiselled from each piece of fallen tree which spoke
to the sculptor within.

As she picked up the chisel, he said:
“Be guided by the grain,
let it tell you what shape it wants you to see;
what it would like you to do.
You are but a handmaiden of the tree’s needs.”

Long before her adolescence, he told her:
“You have the capability to be whatever you want to be;
nothing need stop you from fulfilling your ambition,”
but as she grew, burgeoning breasts alerted him to her gender,
and hopes for his little girl became buried
beneath a wave of pheremones.

In an unwelcome husky tone, he spoke low,
grooming her in the art of the aquiescent tart,
reinforcing, at every opportunity, his opinions and desires toward women.

Years later, as she cuts her finger
on a shattered shard of ill-considered life,
the words come to her again:

“Be guided by the grain,
let it tell you what shape it wants you to see;
what it would like you to do.
You are but a handmaiden to the tree’s needs.”

Looking back, she knows he ignored his own rules.
Each time his hands reached out for his tools,
a seductive wench with tiny waist and generous thighs
was fashioned by his creativity.

Most of his wooden women
had been carved before their resinous flesh was weathered;
her father had no time for the coming of age.
He cared not that they split from pert breast to shaved genitals.

Even after he died, they continued to stand,
well-trained handmaidens,
a cunning reminder of how he made them forever pliant
to the desires of man.

©Jane Paterson Basil