#25. Today, I Will Not Bow (Version I).

Listen to the revised AUDIO version of the poem here.

Day 9. NaPoWriMo- Celebrate Poetry, All Month Long!

Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido -today i will-not-bow-for-webThere are many days yet ahead for bowing

Many days gone past for crying

But not today, today, I will not bow

Today, I shall be born and my mother will not weep

When she beholds the folds between my thighs

And my father will not stare at her with accusing eyes

Yes, today, my father will not hiss out loud;

‘It is a girl!’ Brokenly and dejectedly,

Amidst pitying glances and mocking sighs

Today, he will proclaim proudly to his kinsmen

That a first-born child is gifted to him

A child who’ll inherit his history, cattle and farmlands

A girl-child who will be free to love and to learn

Not to be bartered off to any willing aging groom

Today, I am cherished and I refuse be beaten or battered

And sentenced to a life of resentment, bitterness and doom

Today, I will honour my body, mind, sprit, today I choose to bloom.


Today, I will not bow

To the empty noise of the voices telling me to stay still

And watch passively as my dreams die  and disintegrate before me

I refuse to live a sham version of life, feeling fractured and broken


Today, I will not bow

I will not fall down at the sound of the bullets

Piercing my body, because my spirit is still strong and unshaken


Today, I will not bow

Not even when I am attacked and maligned

By lost souls shackled by their own fear

Who turn my eyes away from the pages of life

Afraid that I may discover new worlds and adventures

In citadels of learning, in the sacred halls of life.


Today, I will not bow

To the drums of the shrivelled village medicine woman

As she leads the crazed dance, and at its feverish peak

They restrain me down and hack off the bud of my maidenhead

They cannot stomach the sensual powers of this woman-child

How they fear the fires of desires hidden in my shapely hips

And the heavenly bliss waiting in the un-suckled milk

Of my beautiful, budding, bouncing breasts

They seek to silence my tongue so that I shall not question

The ineptitude of the men who ride with no skill

They seek to strip me of the source of my orgasmic deaths of life

Sentenced to an endless, aching waiting that never comes!


Today, I will not bow

To the diseased, sick, cowardly  old men

Who take me, a mere child, for wife

Today, I will not bow

Not in guilt and definitely not in shame

For the cowards who greedily plucked and sucked away all the fruits and juices

From my plush innocent gardens, without my consent, leaving me dead and dry.

There are many days yet ahead for bowing

Many days gone past for crying

But not today, no, not today!


Today, I refuse to bow

This is the day that I will not  bow

Today, I rise for every woman-child

Ancestors gone before me and the unborn after me

I stand on these hallowed grounds

And hold sacred space in the gap

And together, with my sisters’  spirit to guide me

I declare that we are all worthy- man, woman and child!

Yes indeed, tomorrow may yet be unknown to me

And perhaps, yesterday may have been a lot of different things

But today? Today, is NOT the day I bow.

Today I cease to hide under my mother’s fears

I choose now to awaken and live my dreams instead

Today, I shall stand tall on this stage of life

And be me, authentically me,

And when I’m done, I will gracefully take my bow

Yesterday, I was nameless, faceless, dreamless

And today, I am re-born anew by God’s grace

I am Amina of Nigeria,

I am Malala of Pakistan

I am Rawan of Yemen

I am Damini of India

I am a little girl lost in Chibok…

And today I shall not bow

Today I invite you all

And together, we ARISE!

© Juliet ‘Kego Ume-Onyido (All rights reserved).

Click Here to listen to the Audio Version of the Poem: “Today, I Will Not Bow”

5 thoughts on “#25. Today, I Will Not Bow (Version I).

  1. Pingback: #25. Today, I Will Not Bow. | Vivian Kay

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