Forgive the Grandmothers

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Forgive the grandmothers
their docile obeisance,
their unopinionated views,
their unassertiveness,
their servile attitudes.
It was absolute authority
that made her bow her head,
a cultural thing that prohibited her,
but praised and honored him.

Forgive the grandmothers
for teaching male superiority,
for misleading us about
what feminine decency meant.
That decency was white starched shirts,
and shiny scrubbed floors–
fresh baked bread, piousness,
literacy restricted to reading scriptures.

Forgive the hovering about,
always at beckoning call,
for believing she was most attractive
when he stood proud and tall.
For countless family dinners
that served the menfolk first,
while she was judged by tasty meals,
the value of her worth.
And for steadfastly believing
her place was in the home,
while understanding that when menfolk gathered,
she was limited to certain rooms.

So, forgive her her part in enabling him to reign:
Head of the Table, Head of the House, Head of Everything.

Forgive her quietly giving birth
in a quality show of strength:
Any woman worth her salt,
decently endured pain.

Forgive her performance of duty
in keeping the children quiet,
Careful not to disturb Daddy
when he came home at night.

Forgive her mindless chatter,
her silence when it would have mattered,
for the mockery made
each time she marked her ballot.

Forgive her disdain for the sister
who resisted
by voting alone,
refusing to double his.

Forgive the grandmothers if you can,
for their clucking godliness,
for the little women robed in velvet steel
deserve our graciousness.

Forgive them, forgive them,
lift up their lowered heads.
Forgive them their delusions,
for they knew not what they did.
Anita Stubbs, 1993

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Anita Stubbs

I am a private person, but need a place to publish my writings, which have accumulated over the years.   I am in the autumn of my life, and feel the need to preserve some of what I have written in forms of poetry, short stories, and articles.  I have written one novel and now am working on my second one. I live quietly with my husband of 57 years, as of this coming November, in Texas.  My ancestors first came to Texas prior to the Civil War.  Other than the five or so years when we moved out of state, I have lived my life here. Anything more you may wish to know about me, you can hopefully gather from my writings, as far as my values, my character, and my impressions of humanity -- in as much and as far as I have experienced it, or imagined it.

3 thoughts on “Forgive the Grandmothers”

  1. Just love you blog..and thoroughly enjoyed “Forgive the Grandmothers” poem…it was So like the late forties and early fifties in my home community..

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  2. Anita, you are so talented, and I admire your work…thank you for it! I, too, grew up during the time which you describe in your poem. I wanted to be a lawyer, but did not know that I could at the time I graduated high school, so I settled for teaching in high and middle school. Again, thank you for your beautiful words………….I am NITA Looney

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