MANA's Women's Month Podcast Continues

In honor of National Women's History Month, presents a podcast series of prose by various women from around the world.

This segment features:

"Wild Honey" by Anna Andreyevna Gorenko (June 1889-March 5, 1966), (better known by the pen name, Anna Akhmatova), considered one of the most significant Russian poets of the 20th century.

"Monologue" by Zhai Yongming, born in Chengdu in 1955, is considered one of China's most prominent poets. 

"Home" by Warsan Shire, who was born in Kenya to Somali parents. Shire was selected Young Poet Laureate for Long in 2013-2014. 

"Song of Death" by Gabriela Mistral (April 7, 1889 - January 10, 1957), was a Chilean poet-diplomat, educator, and humanist. Mistral won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1945.

Enjoy the podcast of thesworks read by MANA's DR C:

Follow along with DR C as she reads these selections:

Wild Honey 
by Anna Andreyevna Gorenko

Wild honey smells like freedom,
dust —like a ray of sun
Violets — like a girl's mouth,
and gold smells like nothing.
Honeysuckle smells like water,
and an apple-like love.
But finally we've understood
that blood just smells like blood.
And in vain the president from Texas
washed his hands in front of the people,
while cameras flashed and correspondents shouted;
and the British minister tried to scrub
the red splashes from his narrow palms
in the basement bathroom, outside
the strangers bar, in the Palace of Westminister.

by Zhai Yongming
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I am a wild thought, born of the abyss
and—only incidentally—of you. Thearth and sky
combine in me—their concubine—they consolidate in my body.

I am an ordinary embryo, encased in pale, watery flesh,
and yet in the sunlight I dazzle and amaze you.

I am the gentlest, the most understanding of women.
Yet I long for winter, the interminable black night, drawn out to my heart's bleakest limit. 

When you leave, my pain makes me want to vomit my heart up through my mouth—
to destroy you through love—where's the taboo in that? 

The sun rises for the rest of the world, but only for you do I focus the hostile tenderness of my body.
I have my ways.

A chorus of cries rises. The sea screams in my blood but who remembers me? 
What is life?

by Warsan Shire

no one leaves home unless
home is the mouth of a shark
you only run for the border
when you see the whole city running as well

your neighbors running faster than you
breath bloody in their throats
the boy you went to school with
who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
is holding a gun bigger than his body
you only leave home
when home won’t let you stay.

no one leaves home unless home chases you
fire under feet
hot blood in your belly
it’s not something you ever thought of doing
until the blade burnt threats into
your neck
and even then you carried the anthem under
your breath
only tearing up your passport in an airport toilet
sobbing as each mouthful of paper
made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.

you have to understand,
that no one puts their children in a boat
unless the water is safer than the land
no one burns their palms
under trains
beneath carriages
no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
means something more than journey.
no one crawls under fences
no one wants to be beaten

no one chooses refugee camps
or strip searches where your
body is left aching
or prison,
because prison is safer
than a city of fire
and one prison guard
in the night
is better than a truckload
of men who look like your father
no one could take it
no one could stomach it
no one skin would be tough enough

go home blacks
dirty immigrants
asylum seekers
sucking our country dry
niggers with their hands out
they smell strange
messed up their country and now they want
to mess ours up
how do the words
the dirty looks
roll off your backs
maybe because the blow is softer
than a limb torn off

or the words are more tender
than fourteen men between
your legs
or the insults are easier
to swallow
than rubble
than bone
than your child body
in pieces.
I want to go home,
but home is the mouth of a shark
home is the barrel of the gun
and no one would leave home
unless home chased you to the shore
unless home told you
to quicken your legs
leave your clothes behind
crawl through the desert
wade through the oceans
be hunger
forget pride
your survival is more important

no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
run away from me now
I don't know what I’ve become
but I know that anywhere
is safer than here

Song of Death 
by Gabriela Mistral

Old Woman Census-taker,
Death the Trickster,
when you're going along,
don't you meet my baby.

Sniffing newborns,
smelling for the milk,
find salt, find cornmeal,
don't find my milk. 

Anti-Mother of the world,
on the beaches and byways,
don't meet that child.

The name he was baptized,
that flower he grows with,
forget it, Rememberer.
Lose it, Death. 

Let wind and salt and sand
drive you crazy, mix you up
so you can't tell
East from West,

or mother from child,
like fish in the sea,
And on the day, at the hour,
find only me,

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