Strong Women

Here is a poem I recently came across by Marge Piercy entitled “For Strong Women”.

A strong woman is a woman who is straining.
A strong woman is a woman standing
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing Boris Godunov.
A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
and while she shovels, she talks about
how she doesn’t mind crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
develops the stomach muscles, and
she goes on shoveling with tears
in her nose.

A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren’t you feminine, why aren’t
you soft, why aren’t you quiet, why
aren’t you dead?

A strong woman is a woman determined
to do something others are determined
not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way through a steel wall.
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you’re so strong.

A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar. A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.

A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.

What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other. Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.



This poem reminded me of many of my female friends, who have been through so much, of my sisters, and of my daughter. All strong women. We are all strong together.

End of Coptic Class

I finished my bookbinding class at the Smithsonian with Katie Wagner. I made 15 books in all and really enjoyed the process. Throughout the class, I bound many sizes of books and used a variety of papers and different cover papers. My book binding became tighter and more consistent. My final book, containing watercolor paper, is my favorite (on the left of photo below).

Collection of Coptic Stitch Books I made in Smithsonian Class

Collection of Coptic Stitch Books I made in the Smithsonian Class

Coptic Bindings

Coptic Bindings

Fabric sewn onto pages

Fabric sewn onto some pages

First Journal Page in Watercolor Book

First Journal Page in Watercolor Book

I really enjoy bookbinding and will continue to practice using different papers, sewing on pages, and playing with varied journaling techniques. This weekend I am taking a class with Seth Apter at The Queen’s Ink in Savage, Maryland. We will be altering an existing book. I can’t wait!