The Tea Turned Cold – III

Please note the third part of an essay at POLITICS .

The Tea Turned Cold in the Cup,

or, Why Women’s Work is No Work

III.

The notion that women are paid less although they work as much and as hard is erroneous: women are paid less although they work more and harder than men. In fact, women are paid less because they work more than men.

If you take into account that women spend much of their time and energy on domestic chores, it stands to reason that they have less space left for their education, training, development, paid and unpaid work, and are less likely to be promoted.

You wonder why someone devotes an essay to something as humble as cleaning toilets or filling washing-machines, and why this should be a political issue. Well, it is a question of principle but also a question of scale.

If you work out that a woman’s additional labour – by comparison to the life partner or other male peers – may well amount to 1,000 hours per year, you reach the figure of 10,000 hours rather soon across a lifetime. This is supposedly sufficient to become a veritable expert or great artist; and this is cut out of women’s lives, with no one noticing a hole as big as the Bermuda Triangle.

Read more here.

 

Line of washing outdoors, very colourful, above greenery and flower-pot.Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013.

The Tea Turned Cold – II

Please note the second part of an essay at POLITICS:

The Tea Turned Cold in the Cup,

or, Why Women’s Work is No Work

II.

When a woman cooks a nourishing meal from scratch for her family and afterwards wipes the table and counters, scrubs the sink, rinses and washes all the crockery and cutlery, all the spoons and utensils, and the casserole or baking-tray, will she say: “Well, washing up is as much work again as cooking”?

No, she will say: “I do it by hand. It’s only four plates.” And she will say it with a shrug of her shoulders and a throwaway tone.

Read more here.

Two round cakes from above, with cherries in patterns.

Home-made millet and cherry cakes. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2016.

The Tea Turned Cold – I

Please note the first part of an essay at POLITICS:

The Tea Turned Cold in the Cup,

or, Why Women’s Work is No Work

I.

When I was a teenager, my parents agreed that I was academically gifted, but had no practical talent whatsoever (by contrast to my brother); this was despite the fact that I had been capable of cooking and baking and taking over the household to the same exacting standards, whenever the need arose, from the age of twelve.

This must mean that domestic work is no practical work and no skilled work either.

Read more here.

Three cakes: one glazed and decorated, one topped with fresh fruit in a pattern, one with plenty of dried fruits and nuts.Home-made Christmas cakes. Photograph: Christina Egan © 2012.

A new chapter will be added to this essay for several months running.

I Peel Potatoes Round and Round

I Peel Potatoes Round and Round

The pots and pans are stacked away
The fruit and flour packed away
The spoons and ladles tied away
And half my life is lied away

I peel potatoes round and round
And see the muddy peelings mount
I peel and chop and boil and feel
My lifetime passing with the peel

The dust and crumbs are sucked away
The sheets and covers tucked away
The mud and mildew brushed away
And half my life is washed away

I am a woman and a wife
And all of you deny my life
Cast speeches of equality
And stifling silence over me

The socks and shirts are stacked away
The boots and woollens packed away
The shears and shovels tied away
And half my life is lied away

I am a woman and a wife
And all of you deny my strife
Is this two thousand seventeen?
My shackles hurt me more unseen

Christina Egan © 2016

Line of washing outdoors, very colourful, above greenery and flower-pot.

Photograph: Christina Egan © 2013.

Pretended liberation of women = Double shifts for women = New servitude of women

Read more in the essay  The Tea Turned Cold in the Cup  at FEMINISM.

 

Word Weaver

Word Weaver

More purple clouds than I can count
or weigh or paint for you
or snatch and send them underground
with some surrounding blue…

To one whose windows do not stretch
to spy the heaving sky,
I’ll weave my syllables to fetch
the purple passing by.

To one whose dusk and marble moon
are filtered through a rail,
I must thread silver on my loom
to leave a shiny trail.

I must request the best black silk
to mark the balmy dark…
By day I’ll stitch a roaring quilt
to catch the city’s heart!

Christina Egan © 2016

Drawing of the mechanics of a loom (yarn on rolls, without the frame)The poet describes the world to a prisoner who can barely see the majestic ever-changing sky and the bright busy city surrounding them. The sound and rhythm of the lines emulate the warp and weft of life, so that the words reflect the world — read the poem aloud and you will see!

The other person may be imprisoned by a totalitarian state or indeed by a democratic state, or locked up by their employers or indeed their own family, behind walls and perhaps under a garment. There are many millions of human beings who de facto are prisoners or slaves without being called so.

For poems about time (for instance ensuing generations) and space (for instance a big city) as a tissue, see my post Geflecht / Geflechte. All of civilisation and all of humanity is one web.

There’s Door on Door

There’s Door on Door

There’s door on door of painted wood
with potted plants and polished brass,
there’s row on row of gabled roofs,
there’s brick and plaster, hedge and grass.

There’s floor on floor of balconies,
above the din, above the dust,
inclusive of commodities,
there’s stone and concrete, steel and glass.

There’s door on door, there’s floor on floor,
but not for me, but not for me –
there’s brick and brass, there’s steel and glass,
exclusive of humanity.

There’s door on door, there’s floor on floor,
but not for us, but not for us –
one has a sofa in a store,
one has an archway in the dust.

Christina Egan © 2015

Ashen Land (For Syria)

Ashen Land
(For Syria)

The only offspring left calls from the eaves.
Some houses have a hundred hollow wounds,
and hamlets of a dozen centuries
surrender to contending winds their rooms.

The olive-trees stretch out their silver leaves
like angels’ feathers in a cry for peace.
Where is the comfort for a bird that grieves,
the peace for ashen land? Is it beneath?

It is beneath the nettles and the shards,
beneath the venom seeped into the field;
it is above the silver heaps of stars,
seed of unimaginable yield.

Christina Egan © 2016

Olive grove, trunks and tree-tops silvery grey, like ashes.Photograph: ‘Olivenbäume in Umbrien’ by Adrian Michael.

I found this marvellous illustration on Wikimedia Commons long after I wrote the poem. I had not even thought of the silver bark and leaves resembling ashes…

In the past few years, millions of Syrians have lost their homes and possessions, or their jobs or studies, or their health or their limbs, or their loved ones or their own lives. The national liberation movement has turned into an apparently bottomless civil war, a literally insane religious war, and a vicarious war of outside powers. This conflict will change the face of the Near East and the face of Europe. Meanwhile, the suffering continues.

Let us pray for peace in Syria. All together.