The Books




she asks

is the sky

blue and grass green?

What does it matter,

he replies, do your chores.

Eyes downcast, she complies–but

determined to find answers—there

in those books she’s forbidden to touch–


only boys can learn to read, and then

only those with the right skin tones

or money or connections.

Still books call—enticing!

Secretly she learns–

quietly she

plots–and then

she runs


For all who have marched, protested, and struggled for freedom–a double nonet for Colleen’s Tanka Tuesday

29 thoughts on “The Books

  1. Oh so meaningful, Merril! Books give us so many ways of learning and make such a difference! Glad they have libraries in most countries. It’s always good to remember the way we were not open for “all,” as some remaining backwards countries continue today.

  2. It wasn’t so long ago my father told my mother that girls didn’t need a college education. In the end, to his credit, he changed his mind about that (and a lot of other things too). But the barriers remain…(K)

    • Wow–Kerfe! I’m glad your father changed his mind. My father thought his daughters could do anything. For my mother, it was different. Her father–perhaps both parents–thought there was no need for her to go to college, but they did send her to business (secretarial) school. And then the war came, and she did get married. . .

  3. Your poem is spot-on, Merril! During my childhood and adolescence, books were my only source of hope and faith in the future, the only way I knew there was more to life than what my family wanted me to see. During that time and probably still to a too-large degree, anti-intellectualism ruled my neck of the woods. Intelligent people who were perceived odd relative to small-town norms were deemed as “knowing too much,” being “too smart for their own good.” This applied to men as well as women, although men were more likely to be considered “too smart.” Women, probably just crazy. My own education, youngest of four but the first college graduate, was accepted but never understood or embraced. I am so grateful to all the women before me who fought for their right to read, to vote, to own their bodies, who supported my living off the fruits of their labor. And now here we go again.

  4. Pingback: Colleen’s 2019 #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge Recap No. 119, “Mystery & Attract” #SynonymsOnly – Colleen Chesebro ~ The Faery Whisperer

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