To the Women Before Me

Their hands must have been dry,
Raw and cracked
from doing woman’s work,
the women before me.

Today, machines wash, robots vacuum,
Clothes, cleaning, hard work done.
And, not to forget, those women
who work for wages too low
to live a healthy life.

No voice or vote.
No power or rights,
without a man in charge
making her decisions.

Women, we have “come a long way”.
Still, no equal pay
or help with children,
while women work the same jobs as men.

Bodies used
not always by choice or love,
to bear a child, wed or not.
Men remain in power.

Slow change,
suffering we wait,
though some help arrives
not always in time.

Even scripture omits and fails
to recognize our value.
Fails to give power
to our purpose.

What is the answer?
Perhaps recognizing value,
precious biology of bearing children.
Our world’s future.

Change cannot wait,
While failing the needs,
safety and health
of children born to many women.

Janet Engle Frase is a retired R.N. and a graduate of Cook County School of Nursing, Chicago, IL. Born in 1941, Jan has been busy with three children, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She has traveled extensively with her husband of 59 years to every Continent, Antarctica twice, 50 countries, and crossed both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans by ship. The many unforgettable and influential people in her life have inspired her new pastime of writing poetry as a vehicle to tell a story. Jan’s poetry has never been published!

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