The borrower
Life can be cheap & justice hard to come by in remote PNG



Upright sapiens tracing constellations
Painting frescoes of migrating ancient quadrupeds
Moulting primate kin un‐severs umbilical cord
Prostrates before celestial and terrestrial
Chanting mantra: magna deum mater
Primal instincts know: she was, is and always will be
Superior Ovum from which humanity evolves

From a powerful womb we come forth –
Not an inferior bone broken in a dream
The perfect XX, not its deformed latter.

Triple cyclical projection of Universal Mother
Life, Death and Rebirth
Past, Present and Future
Heaven, Earth and Underworld
Julunggul, Sinebomatu, HinenuitePo,
nomikami, KuanYin, Devi
Ishtar, Cybele, Gaea
Danu, Freya, Medeine
Oshun, Inkosazana, Mawu
Ix Chel, Ataentsic, Sedna

War, conquest, power and female servitude
No longer born of Sacred Mother but Supreme Father
Titaness births in secret to rapacious god‐king
Coyolxauhqui’s severed head shining in the night sky
Gods and heroes force cyclic to linear
Positive masculine ying, negative feminine yang
A poem by Pauline Riman

Triple projection of man’s woman
Virgin, mother and wife
Prostitute, mistress and concubine
Inferior, weak and servile.

But resilient is Sovereign Female Wisdom
Druid priestesses celebrating the moon at Stonehenge
NeferneferuatenNefertiti and Akhenaton’s monotheistic love
Queen Scheherazade’s one‐thousand‐and‐one stories
Fleeing Helen’s wooden horse and
Feigning Rahab’s trumpets razes kingdom walls
Sappho’s verses encased in the coral reefs of Lesbos
Revised through the songs of Ruth’s royal grandsons
Fa Mu Lan’s warrior training with the great Eight Sages
Mem nanaranga
Daria Bringer of Culture.

Yet in her castle ruins remain the historic vandals
Mistranslation of young woman sterilizes femininity
The Church’s gynocidal Malleus Maleficarum
We remain Aristotle’s mutilated males
Confucius’s causes of disorder
Thomas Aquinas’s misbegotten men

Freud’s deficient humans with penis envy
Defined, authorized, sexualized and judged by men.

Like Furies Pankhurst’s Suffragettes disrupt England
And like Valkyries strengthen it during a World War
Ensues a second‐wave with Beauvoir’s Second Sex
Unleashing all the fury of an Erinye within a mighty pen:

Friedan’s Feminine Mystique
Greer’s Female Eunuch
A poem by Pauline Riman

Firestone’s Dialectic of Sex
Gould’s First Sex
Unsettling, altering and inspiring a new world

Where feminine, female, masculine and male exist
In freedom, fairness and justice
And the continual fight for All to know
Not just their history but also their Herstory.


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Michael Dom

Like it more the second time around, with your responses, Pauline.

Un-severs, as you define, is perfect to me. Like un-learn and un-break, un-wound and completely un-ed.

Interesting to learn about Sinebomatu and Daria too, for which I vaguely recall being told stories.

I'm also reminded of the 'mysterious female' of Taoist philosophy and the female deity alter egos of Hindu mythology, Durga and Kali. And I sure am a fan of Mohini.

This is an exceptional work.

Pauline Riman

Thank you for your critique Michael. I was a Literature student, and a great lover of folklore, myths & legends - so I mention many goddesses whom I admire especially two Papua New Guinean goddesses (or mythical women) Sinebomatu from Milne Bay & Daria from the Sepik.

I created the word “un-severs” to indicate rejoining of the umbilical cord - I wanted to keep the word “sever” (but I negated it to capture the meaning I wanted to convey - not a ‘real’ word? But, hey, I’m a poet & I have artistic license ;-)).

This is one of my favourite poems, I read it to my sisters all the time.

I know many girls & young women who have told me they wished many times they’d been born a boy or had someone tell them that - that saddened & angered me - so it propelled me to write ‘Herstory’ to empower them ...just as it empowers me every time I read it.

Michael Dom

Terrific and powerful stuff. A plausible dissertation of femininity.

Indeed her story is not his story...and perhaps to seek the opposite of is to search for neutrality; equilibrium: History is incomplete without Herstory.

Unsure about the 'un-severs'.

Like 'The perfect XX, not its deformed latter.'

Be nice to read some PNG examples in the mix.

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