Monday, November 14, 2011

On a girl who wants to change the world

my daughter has been reading a book
about women who made a difference,
some major contribution to the world.
(How to define 'major'? A story for a different day, perhaps).

She's read the lives of Florence Nightingale, Mother Theresa,
Amelia Earheart, and others,
some names known to me, some new.
A preponderence of caring professions, charitable endeavours, which, perhaps
shouldn't surprise.
(What are women allowed to be known for, mostly?)

She reads extracts to me in the kitchen, her voice filled with wonder
as I dice carrots, peel potatoes, slice meat.
propping the book at her place at the table, lost in it
sleeping with it pillow-side at night.

she is fired, now
aglow with the energy of inspiration

and she says,
"I want to change the world, too."

And I
looking at her open face and shining eyes
her child's expansive and beautiful heart
will not say, "But, perhaps, you cannot."

It would be wrong to tarnish that animal will, that hunger to be an agent
of a new world.
(Perhaps, in any case, she can. Who is to say? People do, sometimes.)

Instead, I say,
"What would you like to change in the world, my love?"
She, very serious, replies,
"I would like to help people to understand that women and children are as good as men. Everywhere."

And I, with eyes prickling with tears, stroke her hair
and think on her purity of purpose
and my sadness that she owns this knowledge, already embedded, at 8 years old,
that she
this marvellous, incandescent girl,
is part of a journey not yet finished
a song not yet sung,
a race not yet won.

- Kathy, 14/11/11

This post is part of NaBloPoMo. 14 down, 16 to go!

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