Iraqi Schoolgirls, 1932

entry picture

Beyond these walls there’s a place

where they are sisters and daughters

and soon, inshallah, virtuous

wives- and mothers-to-be.


Out there where modesty's praised,

their future's determined.

Their allurements buried

like a hoard, each bride-price


is settled. Being who they are

and where they come from,

each is a link in the chain

that holds the world together.


The same acquiescence

guarantees their quietness

in this studious zone,

where peering eyes absorb


the shapes their fingers follow:

alif, baa, taa … Filling in

the vowels from memory,

they hear syllables murmuring


inside their heads.

                                  And who can say

what they'll make of all the things they learn –

their lives safe and circumscribed,

their lips scarcely moving?


◄ The 2 CV

Pater ►


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Fri 22nd Feb 2019 19:48

Incredibly revealing as it is obviously based on authenticity and a faultless research David. If we can suspend our biases and pre conceptions this sort of poem can truly throw light on cultural strains and expectations. It does seem like the lull before a storm.

Very best, Ray

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