I have an interest in poetry, but usually don’t understand much of what’s considered good contemporary verse.
I’ve just found an exception. The September 23, 2016 edition of The Writers’ Almanac published a poem that I think is very thought-provoking about the definition of feminism, and I’m copying it here.
Clara: In the Post Office
by Linda Hasselstrom
I keep telling you, I’m not a feminist.
I grew up an only child on a ranch,
so I drove tractors, learned to ride.
When the truck wouldn’t start, I went to town
for parts. The man behind the counter
told me I couldn’t rebuild a carburetor.
I could: every carburetor on the place. That’s
necessity, not feminism.
I learned to do the books
after my husband left me and the debts
and the children. I shoveled snow and pitched hay
when the hired man didn’t come to work.
I learned how to pull a calf
when the vet was too busy. As I thought,
the cow did most of it herself; they’ve been
birthing alone for ten thousand years. Does
that make them feminists?
that I don’t like men; I love them—when I can.
But I’ve stopped counting on them
to change my flats or open my doors.
That’s not feminism; that’s just good sense.
What do you think?
“Clara: In the Post Office” by Linda Hasselstrom from Roadkill. © Spoon River Publishing, 1987. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
The Writers’ Almanac with Garrison Keillor, http://writersalmanac.org/page/8/