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Hammer and Nail

She’s thin, beautiful

her body shiny and submissive

generations of servitude and obedience

have made her this way, virginal and gleaming


On her afternoon off, strolling down a back street

slim body covered head to toe

her curious feminine head cloaked in mystery

only her eyes hunger out like laser beams

absorbing all: two American teenage tourists

wearing stone-washed jeans; a mannequin of a bride

in a shop window, straight out of Vogue,

freedom and democracy imprinted on a label

that peeps out under its bared left shoulder.


He is dominant -  handsome and bearded in his military style outfit

arm raised for the downward blow, in a salute to tradition

his birthright, that generations f muscled forebears have bequeathed him

mastery complete and unquestioned. He is builder, erector of home

hearth and temple, judge, jury, commander, destroyer,

blow after iron blow.


Yet there are whispers in the trees. Talk in the streets,

The hand that rocks the cradle, beauty and determination

we are hard as, yes, nails! We are the pinions that hold your houses together

they cry, our slender fingers fasten the furniture of your lives


After your limbs have withered, your obstinate iron heads have

thickened in rust, we will prevail. Think not Master and Slave,

Hammer and Nail. Think Mother and Child, giver of life,

think History, think Liberty – arm raised in light.

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© Johnmichael Simon



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