Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "Rarely Well Behaved"

This poem came out of the November 6, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by my_partner_doug, laffingkat, and mdlbear.  It has been sponsored by laffingkat.  See also "The Hand on the Loom," a thoughtful counterpoint that marina_bonomi has written, inspired by this poem.




Rarely Well Behaved


In the past we had Anne Bonny, Grace O'Malley, Mary Read --
They were wild pirate women borne of Lilith's boldest breed.

In a time where honest women kept their wits beneath their skirts
There were less than honest women slinging guns and truth that hurts.

You can call them crooks and blaggards, say they never should be saved,
But the women making history are rarely well behaved.

We had storytellers sweet, and then came Mary Shelley's book;
With Anne Rice and Laurell Hamilton, we took another look.

Never say that women cannot write as well as any man;
They'll rip your mind off its hinges as they show you how they can.

You can call them hacks and harlots, claim the road to hell is paved,
But the women making history are rarely well behaved.

We had models cute and curvy; then came Twiggy and Kate Moss
And since Marilyn Monroe it seems a slim and sorry loss.

They have laid claim to their bodies now and wear them as their own,
Whether fluff or fat or average or as skinny as a bone.

You can call them tramps and trotters for the fame that they all craved
But the women making history are rarely well behaved.

We heard Bessie Smith and Lotties; we heard Billie Holiday
For their voices shook a nation and will never fade away.

They were raucous women singers, from the north and from the south,
Proving to the world a woman does not have to shut her mouth.

You can call them bawds and bitches, if you were the foe they braved
But the women making history are rarely well behaved.

We've seen Traci Lords and Teagan; we've seen Jenna Jameson
And we've been amazed or horrified at what these gals have done.

For they somehow each decided, given how the path was laid,
That if they were gonna all get screwed, they might as well get paid.


You can call them sluts and floozies; you can call them all depraved
But the women making history are rarely well behaved.

We were battered by old Susan B. and outraged by Ayn Rand
For when women entered politics, they swung a boxer's hand.

They were impolite and punchy, they were sometimes subtle too
And they told the men just where to go, who told them what to do.

You can call them kooks and fools for how they ranted, how they raved,
But the women making history are rarely well behaved.

We have burned the girls of Salem -- they were witches, don't you know --
But Z. Budapest and Starhawk have appeared to steal the show.

There is freedom of religion in this wide and open land;
Every faith's protected, even if that's not what people planned.

You can call them dykes and sirens, claim the devil's fate engraved
But the women making history are rarely well behaved.

Leave the good girls at the loom along with all the rights they've waived
For the bad girls, they make history -- and they're rarely well behaved.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fishbowl, gender studies, history, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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