Woman

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This poem was originally written in the wake of the brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh Pandey of Delhi. Women across the globe continue to face myriad forms of violence and oppression every day. As a community, let us rise together to prevent violence against women, whether it be through our professional work, our creative voices, or simply by offering emotional support. As parents, let us raise boys who learn to love and respect women as their equals, and let us raise girls who grow up to love and respect themselves, to believe in themselves and to be strong enough to stand up against any kind of violence.

WOMAN

I am fire,
the lone flame
on your candle,
hope
in your darkest hour.
A little timid, a little coy,
I burn in selfless love
through the night,
trembling,
flickering in fear
of that moment
when dawn seeps through the window
and with one blow
you extinguish my existence.
Then you resurrect me,
when daylight betrays
and I continue to burn,
burn in selfless love.

But beware,
make it not your habit,
for I am Fire,
that timid, insignificant flame
morphing into wildfire
blazing through the forests,
reckless, uncontrollable,
burning down
jungles of injustice.

I am water,
the tranquil stream
caressing harsh mountains
flowing eternally
through earth’s breast
so that you may quench your thirst.
I am your oasis
of hope, of life
in your heart’s dead Sahara.
I am singing rain
that awakens
the sleeping buds of love
in your solitary soul.

but do not be fooled
for I am the rising ocean
leaping in rage,
my turbulent waves
engulfing
your compass-less vessel
of immorality.

I am air,
the gentle summer breeze
that heals your tortured skin.
Take it not for granted,
for soon I shall return
as a hurricane,
sweeping through the land
with unfathomable force
demolishing structures of all evil.

I am earth,
giver of life,
torn apart in pain
over and over again
as novel lives
sprout through my core.
I let you walk over me,
for days,
for months,
for years,
But a moment arrives
unannounced, uninvited
when I quiver violently
till your sky-scraping arrogance
crumbles to ashes

and I see through the clear skies
an emerging paradise

And then I rest in peace…

Silmy Abdullah loveinshallah

Silmy Abdullah is a lawyer based in Toronto. She currently works for a not-for-profit organization that seeks to prevent and address violence against women and children. She is also a member of the Legal Advocacy Committee of the Canadian Muslim Lawyers’ Association.