X: Xenophanic Poem


Xenophanes was an ancient Ionian/Greek philosopher and poet who lived roughly at the same time as Homer and Hesiod ā€“ in the pre-Socratic era of philosophy. While his name may be lesser known, his influence on philosophy and literature is not. His writing (such that remains; he eccentrically wrote almost nothing down) is marked by satire and witticism. The adjective Xenophanic hence refers to poets who make use of satire and witticism in their poems.

In India in recent years there has been a lot of news and outrage about assaults and rape of women, young and old and even infants. While it is deeply distressing, sometimes what is even more distressing is the reaction of our polititions and people (yes, women included). This, my first attempt to write anything satirical, is with regard to some of what we women and girls have been told over the years.

The Fault

There’s a story being told, I assure you it’s true,

Listen up, it concerns the likes of me and you.

Even the humble chicken will be blamed,

when women in India are to be shamed.

“India” you note, in “Bharat” this doesn’t happen

God will surely bless you, but only in the temple.

Yes, visit the temple, keep all body parts covered

look beyond those half-naked priests that make you shudder!

That will surely keep you safe from the evil eyes of men

Of course unless they have been eating Chowmein

Then their hormones, alas, play hooky

don’t blame them if they want some nooky!

In fact, don’t blame men, it’s all your fault

you insist on wearing what ever you want

like jeans and trousers and t’shirts, haven’t you heard?

Women dressed decently are never raped. It’s absurd

to wonder why raped was that four month old

surely she wasn’t dressed decently; it’s not at all odd

that girls are compared to a box of sweets

which left outside, the dogs will eat.

Why, in my house the dog does not feed

just because the food is there, agreed

he is trained, just as the boys are not!

Of course the women are so immoral. Hot.

“Asking for it”, “Teasing the man”, “Going out at night”!

How dare they, it simply cannot be right.

So let them get raped, it’s just a small incident

how it cost the tourism department!

On it goes, like a carousel, one after the other

blame the stars, the girls, the clothes, the mother

Don’t try to change the way you think, not ever!

Men are faultless, it’s only silly women who differ!

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