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HANDMAIDEN

You think you can
choose?

Praise be
for your great
gift!

A womb
A warm receptacle
An open dock
your fecundity
is a prize

Can't you see
how much
my husband's
seed
needs
your warm
tight thighs?

We'll have a party
when you're due
to you we'll be kind
and wise

You think you can
choose?

The red matches your
hair
wipe away the stains
didn't hurt so bad?
The experience, we shared

You think you can
choose?

My husband
needs practice
I'll have a word
for next time
for next time
for next time for
however long it takes

You think you can
choose?

Be my friend-
the time we spend
can help lose
society's sobriety
I'm the Wife
I CAN choose

It's your duty-
lie down
I'll hold your hand
i'll hold you down

Style / type: 
Free verse
Last few words: 
Edited version of a dystopian nightmare...polygamy.
Editing stage: 

Comments

very powerful betty
very powerful

i'm stuck for words and that's not me :)
absolutely nothing to offer in way of critique that might improve
- except maybe to lose the first stanza
'It's a theocracy
not a democracy!'
- it just imo seems to give away a text/subtext a tad early

i think it might add more power to begin
'You think you can
choose'
- just me

powerful write betty
welcome to neopoet
love judy
xxx

'Each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,
shall draw the Thing as he sees It, for the God of Things as They are.'
(Rudyard Kipling)

I've edited...i agree, it's more powerful to start with a question.

I appreciate the feedback.

'Betty'

author comment

this is very personal and raw with your emotions, I agree with judyanne's suggestions, keep it tight,
I'll hold your hand
i'll hold you down
I thought the irony/ menace of these lines would make a better ending, it needs some editing, maybe put it away for a while till you get some perspective then revise by cutting down till it packs maximum punch.
and ditch your husband and find someone who loves only you
best wishes
ross

I appreciate your comments and yes it still needs a bit of shaping, however, my ending is staying exactly as I want it to be for the following reason.

This piece was based on Margaret Atwood's 'The Handmaids Tale'- A Dystopian cautionary tale from the near future where women have lost all personal & hard won freedoms and are reduced to sexual slavery, to re-populate a declining human race.

Women are only identified by how fertile they are and are classified as Wives, Handmaidens or Marthas. They are objectified as only being a womb & ovaries.

A Totalitarian theocracy has emerged where the ruling elite are allowed to take a 'Handmaiden' to get pregnant by force. This is conducted in a quasi-religious ceremony where the 'Wife' is involved in the 'ceremony' by holding down the coerced 'Handmaiden'. At once, being humiliated & being a controlling apparatus of the State.

It's important the 'Husband' term remains, exactly for the reasons just explained....it has nothing to do with emotion or feeling. In an interview about her book, Atwood suggested that both sexes has lost something in this new regime...women their right to control their fertility and men the 'feelings' that can develop through sex into love. When a return to 'traditional values' ( Critique of America's Ultra Right wing )is taken the the logical conclusion, this nightmare vision of the near future emerges.

I think we also have to ask ourselves, is this not happening to a certain extent in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan? The Taliban is as close to a totalitarian theocracy as we could get..

author comment

Firstly welcome to Neopoet and I hope you enjoy being here with all of us.
A very topical theme, at the moment what with the celebrity culture having some shock truths in the misuse of their status and reverting to doing what they want without being questioned, though I think that the revelations of the Savile case will once again remind us of a them and us situation as did the Parliamentarian a few months ago, the misuse of minors and girls, makes me sick, this is going back to the old days of house servants and the maids..
We cannot win and I am very glad that I am at my age so that I will not see the evolving status of vulnerable people.
I see that you are from Southampton, I lived there for a while back in the 90's but left to go to Africa, but that's another story lol
Take care and once again "Welcome To Neopoet"
Yours Ian.T

.
There are a million reasons to believe in yourself,
So find more reasons to believe in others..

Thank you for the welcome. I joined Neopoet a few years ago, but left when the original system crashed! Been busy getting on with life and have had major upheavals and changes-which I'm sure will give me new material!

So i've returned after feeling the muse again...developing the craft, so don't be too harsh.

I love sailing so Southampton is heaven and i'm on the edge of the New Forest too. I'm blessed but grateful.

'Betty' :)

author comment

i really thought it was all about you, so well done to create such a powerful piece, all art is artifice, as a 65 year old I experienced the changes the pill made to our society, the whole balance of sexual politics changed in a few years. I think this one invention had more to do with feminism than any other element. traditional societies are shocked and reactionary when they see the sexual mores of the west, with porn, prostitution, paedophilia and divorce the daily staple of the media. They see our society as utterly corrupt. We see it as sexual freedom and the end of sexual repression. its a balancing act. In the west the religious right is also dismayed at the sexual revolution. Like everything the more you look into it the greyer it gets.

I investigated the changes and agree with them all. This is not my style of poetry, so I won't pretend to offer help with form and as far as content is concerned... you obviously need no assistance.
You mentioned to Ian that you were "back" and rehoning skills (I assume dormant?). You asked us to not be too "harsh", but I suspect that a poet who produces something like this can likely take our harshest and put it to good use.
I've been called "The Grammar Cop" (not originally in a pleasant tone, but I've since gleefully adopted the moniker), so the only suggestion I have is this...
"receptacle" is spelled with an "a".
Looking forward to reading more of your emotional writing.
Welcome to NeoPoet.

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
The NeoPoet Mentor Program
http://www.neopoet.com/mentor/about

Spelling isn't my strongest skill...I was lazy....thanks for pointing it out. I am a freeform poet now as I'm bored with the structures of western and classical constructions.That's not to say I don't appreciate poets who can handle the intellectual rigour of the structure and form. I keep an open mind and try not to be too pompous about what's supposed to be right & wrong.

I'm afraid I've been influenced by Lawrence Ferlinghetti; i've taken to heart his adage when he said "when you know the rules, you can break them". I'm concentrating on developing my own style and crafting the lexis. Freeform is every bit as challenging but the focus is on onomatopoeia, vocabulary,imagery and learning to break the lines for impact.

Hope you're prepared for others to be willing to cast an interested eye on your foibles & errors too. :))

'Betty'

author comment

... pointed out than any single poet here. I beg to be torn apart and get very little for my whining. Come and get me!
I agree that freeform is far more complex than most poets give credit for. Too many feel it is nothing more than the emotional bloodletting that comes with putting anything on the page. As for knowing the rules... I often (more so than most here will attest to) abuse the "rules" of strict poetry, but I never want it to be done simply out of ignorance. If I misspell a word or twist the meter, I want it done for a specific reason; for a specific effect and not because I didn't look the word up in my forty pound Webster.
If you're going to look in on my works, I invite you to read the blog I wrote concerning "Sing Song" for my Storytelling workshop.
Let me know your thoughts.

W. H. Snow

A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. Percy Bysshe Shelley

Learn how, teach others.
The NeoPoet Mentor Program
http://www.neopoet.com/mentor/about

Like Judy I am a little stumped, I cant offer anything of substance that would improve your poem btw i thought this was about someone who is pregnant, I am getting tired here its one am lol

brava(again) your writing at a whole other level

Love and hugs JC xxx

("Always and Forever") - (Never lose a holy curiosity.-Albert Einstein)

didn't like the last 2 lines , too pedantic and sloganed
like the rest, the repetitions chant. Seems to be a craze on this site for very short lines, could be used more sparingly when really needed to create an effect.
I like your style, powerful voice, you're scary too in a good way
ross

martini or boilermaker
been out there me of late
trudging through the blighted
and joyous land of memory
aging has much to do with this
I come here and spend hours
and then bare landing
a puff of an idea on a breeze

but in transit
from somewhere
going ere it be

I stopped to read and
was dazzled at the tight effeciency
of words and thoughts
and feelings of this one

atwood is a pure intellect
as are a majority of my friends
like fb and twit
here is a photo of my life
as it breaks apart
of my new toy
look
emoji status
ego interuptus

rare few who can spin it
the power of interchange
like this
but I once had friends
landing loudly at my tables
brilliant minded
bouncing ideas
a hot change
refuel ideas tossed
new crew
instructions for the
day ...weekend...
i never quite grasped fellini
or atwood but loved it just
the same

human policies are an endless
format for poetry and writing
from whence time immoral
(pun intended)

in short....a real nut grabber of
a poem!
and I havent used these old sayings
in years...but that was what I was
in my late teens and early twenties
i stayed as loyal as i could
i love systems and politics
excellent poem!

Mr Me!

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