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Poetry by Peg Sweeney
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Women's History

I Women, hidden away for eons of time Lost or found in their aprons and wash. Clinging to images handed down by worn and tired mothers harping on how to be who to be — Seeking men to answer their needs. Centering their lives on a man's time clock. II Women now, dressed in finer clothes labeled with magic names cling to images of Independence handed down by mothers Thinking independence was freedom Only to look into eyes of latch-key children dulled by television's noise. Women centered now, from nine to five. III The biological clock ticks on and on. Relentlessly greying hair, weakening bones, dulling muscles Ovaries and wombs unused, or used too late become life threatening. Breasts are smoothed by creams unsuckled by young mouths. Whose image to follow? Whose eyes will reflect our own? What is quality time? Wherein lies our center?

To Matt and Scott

Who are they the two young men standing now on the ceremonial block? What did they wish to say to friends assembled on their behalf? Out in the world they are bashed, mocked, and yet revered for their talents, artists, dancers, actors, creativity runs hard and fast in their blood. Too many lights have gone out too many dead. And yet these two hold hands and kiss ready to take a vow to love each other, always. Hold fast family, friends, ride their wild waves and beat the drums, They're out, the closet is flooded with light and love.


White coated doctor Mouths verdict of Mastectomy, or lumpectomy With matter of fact words, Never shedding tears Or reaching out hands To reassure the woman Who listens. He forgets he once was Comforted and nurtured At a woman's breast Given life, while now Life may be lost. White coated Doctor Sitting safely behind his desk Unable, afraid, to reach out Forgetting healing, life,      begins            with                touch.

Light Source

The light changed becoming crystalized. Water reached the shore in great finger holds. Blueberry bushes ran along the road's edge climbing up into long rocky fields. Time was lost in clothes blowing on a line. Old farm houses flying flags. White porches decked with red geraniums. Indeed, what can I tell you of light and air wind, water and sky. Time turned inside out and upside down. Watches, clocks, faceless. Children running free on beaches washed by endless time. Time so finally lost it is found.

Warrior Women

Warrior Women write of feelings deep, wild, pushing up, out, feelings stuffed, crushed held in by guilt or lessons well learned. Warrior Women write of abuse by fathers, uncles, grandfathers, brothers, friends who pretended to love but felt, caressed, penetrated young girls, innocent in their age, warned not to tell. Warrior Women write crying out to be heard pointing the finger, challenging mothers who froze in submission to beatings and threats or said they didn't know. Warrior Women write holding the pen writing on and on. The healing takes so very long.

The Center

Out the window door lilacs bloom in wild scented profusion. Apple blossoms frame the bright green meadow setting a velvet stage for the returning deer. The old wicker rocker, newly painted is placed on the porch, its ample seat ready to welcome friends and animals. A grandchild calls from miles away to tell of radishes we planted in March now, bright red, and ready to eat. Lingering, I watch an infant open tiny hands, wrapping them around a grandmother's thumb, eyes and voices meeting, each holding tightly to new lives so recently found. Out the window door lilacs bloom now, the scent filling the air. Gathering an armful, I place them carefully in the center                 of my room.

Fifty is Nifty

or so They Say

My hands, reflecting in the mirror while I touch and probe groping at the soft nipple searching for the possible hidden lump — with its fear laden message. Hands, lingering now touching, caressing the nipples remembering their hardness and tenderness engorged with milk. Fingers, deftly directing their flow into eager, searching mouths. Rocking back and forth warm flesh against my body, sweet, sour smells, lullabyes softly sung Now, blasting music jars my reverie — as my eyes are drawn to the window — outside, adult children play babbling voices hurling bodies, flinging their overgrown selves in pursuit of a ball. They're 'hanging out' now until the laundry's finished the dinner served their stomachs full once again.

Manitoba Night Prairie

The crescent-shaped moon hangs golden in the vast prairie sky its promise of fullness like a young girl etched in a circle of light. Across the horizon line millions of stars stretch becoming star soldiers young men, dead, before their time, banished forever to the sky still vainly seeking the crescent moon's promise. Ribbons of light blue and scarlet slowly fill the eastern sky. Dawn erases the star soldiers leaving only Venus shining hopefully on. Manitoba prairie stretching across day and night, moon touching earth stars burning ever on. Time rising on the back light                 of the moon.