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September 01st 2008 print

Philippa Martyr

Self-Defence

Lady poets do not always wear their hair in braids
Nor fornicate with fly-by-night directors.
Nor do they ride like Boudicca and lead their men on raids
While wearing golden Kevlar chest-protectors.

It’s true girl poets sometimes find themselves caught unawares
While gazing on a star or on vacation.
They think of Mary Shelley and of marketing their wares:
Of profit margins, and of publication.

But lady poets, now, come forth in slightly different guise
Redoubtable and starched, they never weep.
A little older than the girls, but shrewder now, and wise
And bedroom eyes are gladly closed in sleep.

And up for it they may be, but they’ll never let you know,
Nor go prancing on love’s stage like some rank amateur.
A lady poet never lets authentic feeling show:
It spoils the measure of a good pentameter.

 Philippa Martyr