I wrote this poem after visiting the British Museum on a very hot summer’s day in July 2022. I have always loved the Assyrian part of the museum, this time I came away thinking about what the role of women would have been in this culture and wrote this poem sitting under the trees in Russell Square Garden.
ANCIENT WOMEN . In these cultures, ancient as they are, where did they belong - the women? Were they public or private? Owned or their own? Where were their voices? Where are they now? Are their imprints still echoing through the space-time continuum, where we somehow can hear them, sense them if we keep very still? . Or are they lost forever? So far gone that we will never know if they were honoured or abused; a part of life or used like cattle. In their own ways, did they battle for more equality in a culture and time who’s public legacy is mostly male; where far too often being female was to be for sale, with no choices. . Where are the voices of the mothers, the wives, the sisters, the daughters? The women who supported each other, helped each other with life, death and birth, and feel a sense of worth - if they were allowed. . As happens too often, they remain silent. Telling us nothing. But if we listen to their silence it whispers of suffering. © Saraphir Camille Legind July 2022