Years ago, a small group I founded and belonged to — a group that might (if it still existed) disavow me if they saw me now — married to a man, living in a suburb — brought Judy Grahn to Pittsburgh to share her poetry. It was a thrill to have this fine poet bring and speak her verse. It was verse that celebrated women — young and old, straight and queer, of many colors, locations, styles.
And today, for reasons that escape me, part of her “common woman”poems — a portion I had on my walls until the poster fell to pieces — came to mind.
the common woman is as common
as good bread
as common as when you couldnt go on
For all the world we didnt know we held in common
the common woman is as common as the best of bread
and will rise
and will become strong — I swear it to you
I swear it to you on my own head
I swear it to you on my common
Thank you, dear poet.
For all “common” women —
may we know that none of us is truly common
may we never forget the power deep within us — the power to rise.