Let's dive headlong into the ocean of literature, as deep and as varied as it comes, and look for the hidden pearls that give us the most vivid portrayals of women. Poetry, with its potent power to convey profound feelings and intricate notions in just a few lines, has always been my refuge. And through the years, I've come across several poems that present women in different lights - as a lover, a mother, a fighter. Here, I'll share some of my favourites. Hang on, this is going to be a journey you won't forget.
The first one that comes to mind is Rudyard Kipling's 'The Female of the Species'. No, don't be put off by the title; it's not as dry as it sounds. Kipling beautifully portrays women as the softer, nurturing gender but also as ferocious protectors when those they love are in danger. The tone is respectful, almost in awe of womanhood, and I feel a sense of tranquility each time I read the lines, "She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast/ May not deal in doubt or pity - must not swerve for fact or jest."
Maya Angelou's 'Phenomenal Woman' is like a force of nature. It's the kind of poem that gets your blood pumping and your spirits soaring. Angelou dances on the very lines of the poem, with her innate power and irresistible charm. She is mysterious and compelling, and she owns her flaws and embraces her individuality with pride. When she proclaims, "I am a woman/ Phenomenally", we believe her, and we can’t help but admire her spirit.
Robert Graves' poem 'She Tells Her Love While Half Asleep' is a stunning portrayal of a woman in love. Graves paints an enchanting picture of a woman who, even in her sleep, can't help but confess her deepest emotions. There is a haunting quality to this poem, the sense of an enigma that can't be fully understood, yet so beautiful that it captivates us completely. The lines that get to me every time? "Her eyes morbidly wide, and wonderingly./ She knows not what she says, and so far off her topic strays."
Another gem that I’ve been quite taken with is C.Day Lewis’s ‘She’. Presenting the image of a woman as warmth, as desire, and as the ultimate refuge, it’s a poem that makes the heart flutter. It speaks of love that is quiet yet burning, and a longing that is as old as time. The simplicity of the lines 'She is so free and white, and soft to the touch,/ And her look, oh, it turns a lad inside out' carry a hefty emotional punch.
Pablo Neruda's poem 'The Queen' speaks about a woman who is an unflinching pillar of strength. A woman who's brave, who's the shelter in the wildest storm, who's the lighthouse guiding wayward souls. It's a celebration of womanhood in its fiercest form. Once, I remember, Max, my trusty terrier, didn't seem to realise a thunderstorm was raging outside our Melbourne home because we were both so totally lost in Neruda’s lines.
Rumi's 'The Privileged Lovers' is, in a word, magical. Just remember, it's not about just romantic lovers, but about the divine connection between human and God. The poem speaks of the extraordinary woman, the one who stirs the heart and spirit, who guides us towards light and love. The profound lines “These spiritual window-shoppers,/ who idly ask, ‘How much is that?' Oh, I'm just looking./ They handle a hundred items and put them down,/ shadows with no capital.” never fail to leave me reflecting deeply about the transcendent power of love.
Billy Collins' 'Litany' is a delight, a true ode to the everyday woman. Its charm lies in beautifully praising the traits and quirks of an ordinary woman. It’s light, humorous, and precious in its praise - a valuable reminder that it’s often the simplest traits that make someone extraordinary. I've shared this poem with so many friends in Melbourne and, invariably, everyone always breaks into a smile while reading it.
These poems, and countless others, provide glimpses into the multifaceted world of women. Each verse adds a layer, creates a texture, shapes an image. When I sit with my dog Max at the end of a long day, reading these works, I feel like I'm a bit closer to understanding the wonders of women, and that's no small thing. Through their eyes, we see strength and vulnerability, resilience and gentleness, fierceness and love. It’s a beautiful labyrinth, and I encourage each reader to pick up these poems, step into that world, and remember to cherish the extraordinary women in your life.
Hello, my name is Alistair Beauchamp, and I am an artist specializing in various forms of art, with a particular passion for poetry. I have dedicated my life to exploring the depths of human emotion through the written word, and I love to share my discoveries with others. My work has been featured in numerous publications, and I am always searching for new ways to express myself and connect with others. I believe that art has the power to heal and bring people together, and I am committed to using my talents to make a positive impact on the world. Feel free to explore my world of creativity and join me on this artistic journey.View all posts by: Alistair Beauchamp
In my latest blog, I delved into why an Asian American has yet to be named Poet Laureate. It's a complex issue, rooted in the lack of representation and visibility of Asian American voices in the literary world. Despite the rich and diverse talents in the community, cultural and language barriers can limit their exposure and recognition. Furthermore, traditional western literary canon often overlooks Asian American contributions. It's high time to shine a light on these untapped talents and make the field of poetry more inclusive.
As I delved into the true dark history behind famous nursery rhymes, I was surprised to discover sinister origins behind seemingly innocent songs. For instance, "Ring Around the Rosie" is believed to be about the Great Plague, while "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" may actually refer to the ruthless Queen Mary I of England. Even the beloved "Humpty Dumpty" has connections to a devastating historical event – the English Civil War. As I continued my research, it became clear that these nursery rhymes were more about preserving history and cautionary tales than simply entertaining children. I can't help but wonder what other dark secrets are hidden within the verses we've all grown up with.
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In my blog-ventures, I've been lucky enough to stumble upon some truly magnificent poems about women that have genuinely rocked my socks off! The top of this fabulous list is filled with Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman”, a poem that sings praises to the inner beauty of a woman with such grace, it could make a rock blush. Then we have Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus”, a raw, powerful poem that portrays the resilience of women in a way that makes superheroes look like amateurs. Pablo Neruda's "The Queen" is another gem that glorifies the mysterious charm of a woman. And let's not forget William Butler Yeats’ “For Anne Gregory”, a delightful ode that exclaims that a woman's worth is more than just her physical appearance. These poems, my friends, are like a high-five to womanhood from the world of literature!
After exploring various platforms, I've found that Medium, AllPoetry, and Commaful are some of the best sites to publish poems. Medium offers a broad audience and the chance to earn through their partner program. AllPoetry, being a dedicated poetry site, has a supportive community and offers constructive feedback. Commaful stands out with its unique multimedia format that makes poetry more engaging. Always remember, the best site will depend on your unique needs and preferences as a poet.