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Poem: "It Takes Three" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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ysabetwordsmith
Poem: "It Takes Three"
This poem came out of the April 1, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by [personal profile] librarygeek. It also fills the "holding hands" square in my 3-30-14 card for the [community profile] cottoncandy_bingo fest. This poem belongs to The Ocracies series.  It matches "Temperate in Politics" (the Duarchy of Twale) and "Casting for Answers" (the Patriarchy of Darthalem).


"It Takes Three"


The Matriarchy of Sherin
spreads through a desert.
The land is harsh and
requires careful cooperation
just to survive there.

So the people have developed
ways of coping with the hardships.
They form close-knit clans
whose motherlines draw together
enough folk for security,
even though they lose some
to famine or warfare.

The women, being both
warriors and mothers,
fall more often than the men.
Fortunately they often bear twins,
so it's possible to replenish the clan.

Because a woman with a baby
in each arm has no hand left
to do anything else,
it is the custom for each
to take two husbands,
so that they can mind the babies
while their wife does other work.

In this way they form strong families,
a woman with her motherkin
and two men from different clans,
uniting to bind themselves together
hand in hand in hand.
The other nations may look askance
at this arrangement, but it works for them.

As the saying goes,
"It takes three to raise two."

* * *

Notes:

This nation is matriarchal (women rule), matrilineal (tracing female ancestors), and matrilocal (husbands move in with the wife's family). It is NOT matrifocal (woman-centered home life) because the men do a great deal of childcare.

Twins comprise most multiple births. Fraternal twins may have different fathers, an effect called superfecundation, and it's not rare in this culture. While the rate of identical twins is consistent, fraternal twinning is affected by genetics and far more common in some populations. The cap in our world seems to be Nigerian at 1:22, but in Sherin twin births outnumber singletons. This is normal for some mammalian species, such as the tamarin monkeys whose social structure inspired this culture.

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