Poem: Manhood

Another oldie, on the theme of what it is to be a man.

Manhood

In an echoing, empty subway

I fall back, so as not to be

perceived a threat by she who walks

alone ahead of me.

A second moves to pass me

I step well away to the side

that doubts that might darken her frightened mind

are, as far as they can be, denied.

 

Through choice would I never strike woman,

through choice would do no woman wrong,

I cannot despise them, nor trivialise them,

perceive women weak and men strong.

I’ll not play ‘It’s a man’s world’ games,

be thus prisoned, pretend to be free,

and the thrusting, assertive world of some men

holds no welcome – nor liking – for me.

 

If manhood must be one-upmanship –

emotions suppressed to compete,

others diminished one’s self to enhance –

then the prize of the game is defeat.

It has to be hateful, so much to be feared

by those we most need to be friends,

it has to be time to reject, now, those things

on which such a manhood depends.

 

True manhood must re-write the script,

must open eyes to a new way of seeing

that it matters much less to be one kind of man

than to be fully a true human being.

 

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