To the Girls who Dream of Planets, Plies, and Protozoa

In celebration of International Women's Day 2016.

"One day I will..."
As children this was our mantra
The world
Was a treasure chest
And we explorers of the briny deep
The sizzling Sahara
The mysterious Congo
Travelling to China on dragons
Discovering deep space
In fanciful rockets
And stars we marked with our names
Planets like jewels:
Purple and gold and pink and blue
And nothing – nothing at all
Was impossible
Not even math. Not science. Not art.

As we grew, age and adults
Leached the colour from our stars
The treasure chest no longer bejewelled
Just a tin box with thorny words
And broken promises
And we were told, You can’t
The mysteries of science and math
Are not for you.
Art history favours men.
We were taught that planets were conquered
Not by women but by men
As if the twist of an extra X chromosome
Changed our intelligence or our capabilities
The lucidness of our thoughts
Or the wideness of our dreams.

Impossible, they tell us:
Sophie Germaine hiding her gender
Behind a false name for the sake
Of her beloved mathematics
Misty Copeland, the wrong
Type of body for a ballerina.

Impossible, they told me:
That a choral conductor has no future
That to teach making music
With many voices
Is insignificant: as if
Appreciation for beauty
Were not the very foundation of our dreams
Of dragons, of stars, of sea and sand.

“One day I will…”
Well: Today, I am.

- Shuku

Shuku is a Musician-Trying-To-Make-It, and a Writer-Who-Would-Like-To-But-Is-Too-Paiseh. She admits to an acute weakness for well-chosen words strung together in either sentence form or poetry, and would marry Good Writing in a heartbeat if it were legal.Inspirations? Anything and everything, especially observations on the human condition and, occasionally, malfunctioning postal services, pompous bureaucracy, and the immortal Calvin and Hobbes.


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