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We Women and Patriarchal Potentates

I've interacted with many women,
Many of them from my distant past.
It has left me in a state of confusion:
As we claim the same religious base.

Can each of us have been taught the same,
While acting out the values so differently?
How many of us have had the courage
To stand strong and proud in our dissent?

I have been most upset with those who
Sneak around behind their "God's" back,
Pretending to follow the religious rules
That damn those they claim as family.

What friend or family denies bread or drink
To those holding hands with them on their path?
How can one say, "You must believe what I do,
Or I will not serve you my words or my wine?

It seems to me that the way to see into a soul
Is to sit and share the bounty of our earth,
Inviting all who pass our celebration
To bring their gifts and graces to the table.

No one has to believe in the goodness
Before they are allowed to taste a morsel;
Let each take a taste of everything offered,
Accepting all that pleases their own palate.

It does not harm my tastes or beliefs
If those sitting beside me disagree with them.
I am simply happy that they have allowed me
A glimpse into their, to me, exotic tastes.

What if we were all strong enough in ourselves
To enjoy differences that we don't fully understand?
What if we could say what you like isn't for me,
Without offending the giver of the gift or grace?

How much better our world would be
If we honored the values of each other,
Knowing that business and personal beliefs
Require different sets of rules and regulation.

I may never like the person who pays my salary,
But I must honor the values of his responsibility.
In my life outside business, I can experiment;
Responsibility, over myself and children, gives authority.

Mothers should have authority over their own children,
And fathers should preside over their own responsibilities.
But we should not listen to those who assume authority,
While offering no commensurate personal commitment.

I'm through with women who are "She who will be obeyed"
And the males who think they are patriarchal gods.
Relationships based on responsible compassion attract me;
There seems no religion that is based on that model.

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