Persevere, O Persevere!

With everything going on I’ve had a hard time writing.  Yesterday Walt Whitman’s poem “Pioneers, O Pioneers” popped up on my shuffle and it inspired me to write a mimic poem.  Some lines (and I believe one section because it was just so moving I couldn’t change it) I kept from the original poem and cannot take credit, but most I changed to fit my narrative.

This was incredibly therapeutic for me as a rape survivor and the first time in about a month I’ve been able to write and enjoy it.  I hope this resonates with some of you.

– S. S. Jaxon

Persevere, O Persevere!

“Come, my courageous sisters,
Follow well in order, get your wits about you; Have you your pride? Have you your sharpened minds?
Persevere, O Persevere!

For we cannot tarry here;
We must fight my darlings, we must face the purveyors of danger;
We, the bearers of the future, the rest on us depends,
Persevere, O Persevere!

O you youths, enlightened misjudged youths,
So impatient, full of activism, full of female pride and friendship,
Plain I see you, flourishing youths, see you tramping with the foremothers,
Persevere, O Persevere!

Have the elder generations halted?
Are their hearts taxed, voices raw, unheard by ears muffled with complicity?
We take up the task eternal, and the burden, and the lesson,
Persevere, O Persevere!

All the wrongs of the past we bring to the front line;
We debouch upon a safer, fairer world, varied world
Female and strong the world we seize, world of equal labor and the Women’s march,
Persevere, O Persevere!

Our numbers steady growing,
Down the Patriarchy, through the hypocrisy, up the White House steps
Conquering, holding, daring, venturing, as we go, the future awaits.
Persevere, O Persevere!

The oppressive bondages breaking,
Our inner fury raging, vexing thee, and piercing deep the pervasive sexism within
We, the second sex weary of obeying, tired of men misbehaving,
Persevere, O Persevere!

American women are we,
From Dreamers, from Standing Rock and Hollywood’s elites,
From Silicon Valley and from the military, from the STEM labs we come,
Persevere, O Persevere!

From Black Lives Matter, from LGTBQ,
All religions and races are we,
from homemakers to Wall Street to factories midwest, with continental blood intervein’d,
All the hands of sisters clasping, all the conservative, all the liberal,
Persevere, O Persevere!

O resisting, restless sisters!
O beloved sisters in all! O my breast aches with tender love for all! O I mourn and yet exult — I am rapt with love for all,
Persevere, O Persevere!

Praise those before for their persistence,
For the continued resistance, progress without assistance (rest your heads all),
Praise their tireless consistence , unwavering, steadfast, armored sisters,
Persevere, O Persevere!

See our children, our children’s children,
To these standards they will not adhere, we must not yield or falter,
Look back to our champions, their ghosts behind us urging,
Persevere, O Persevere!

On and on the matriarchal ranks,
With accessions ever waiting, with the roles of the femme quickly cultivating,
Persevere, O Persevere!

O to reclaim our time!
Are there some of us to wilt and fade? Has the backlash come?
Onward we march we women spry, adamant and sure the cause is just,
Persevere, O Persevere!

All the women of the world,
Fall in, come fight with us, with the feminist movement beat;
Holding single or together, steady movement, to the front, all for us,
Persevere, O Persevere!

Repercussions for the abusers!
For the destroyers of their accusers, for all the predators still hiding in their caves,
For the exploiters and the manipulators, for all the traffickers of girls enslaved.
Persevere, O Persevere!

All the silent survivors,
All the women prisoned with invisible shackles, all the righteous and the rebellious,
All the furious, all the indignant, the prejudice we are defying,
Persevere, O Persevere!

I too with my soul shaken and body used,
We an afflicted trio, healing, fighting not to stray
Through the blamers, amid the shame, and self-doubt always pressing,
Persevere, O Persevere!

Lo! The approaching gleaming ceiling!
Lo! Our sisters’ achievements all around! All the assembling feats and successes,
All the daring risk takers, all the bold barrier breakers,
Persevere, O Persevere!

These are of us, they are with us,
All for paramount change, while our daughters there in embryo wait behind,
We today’s procession heading, we clear the path unfearing,
Persevere, O Persevere!

O you brothers of the states!
O you young and elder brothers! O you fathers and you husbands!
Never must you be divided! In our ranks you stand united!
Persevere, O Persevere!

Sisters censored by authority!
(Survivors not ready to stand – feel no shame. Your voice will come.)
Soon I hear you come warbling, soon you rise and tramp amid us,
Persevere, O Persevere!

Not condescension cloaked in sweet,
Not degradation and belittling, not groping and violating;
Not mansplaining and objectifying, not for us the acceptance of inferiority,
Persevere, O Persevere!

Do the culpable feast?
Do the guilty sleep? Have they locked and bolted doors?
Still be ours the resistance strong, and our tolerance tossed upon the ground.
Persevere, O Persevere!

Has the reckoning descended?
Was the conversation of late so toilsome? did we stop discouraged, those in power keeping us at bay?
Yet a passing hour I yield you, in your tracks to pause impassive,
Persevere, O Persevere!

Till with sound of triumph,
Far, far off our daughters call — hark! how loud and clear I hear womankind;
Swift! To the head of the movement!— swift! spring to your berth,
Persevere, O Persevere!”

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