Steel Meets Stone

Something different today – A free-form poem

Steel Meets Stone

BouldersI see you, Young Prince
You come in to our office arrogant, prideful
Indeed your culture has much to be proud of
But also much to be ashamed of
Just like anyone else’s history

You don’t know it yet
But you have the potential to be better
Let me teach you

Because I am a woman, Young Prince, you expect that I am your servant
Your words are polite – a very slight deference to my culture
But your eyes and your posture show your upbringing

I stick to the policies of my workplace
You are not happy, Young Prince
I cannot, will not make an exception for you
Because frankly, you are not the only Young Prince I’ve ever seen
And rules are rules
Even for you
Especially for you
Because you have the potential to be better than you are

I see the fire simmering beneath your surface
I see the steel in your eyes
I am stone to your steel
You will shatter
I guarantee it

Standing behind you are the mighty warriors and kings of your nation
Perhaps your father, uncles, brothers trained you
Hand to hand
Edged weapons
Projectile weapons
Surprise!  I too am trained in combat – yes, a woman!
You don’t know this, but I do
And you wonder at the strength you see in my eyes

Authority rings in my voice and you are taken aback

You don’t know, Young Prince
Standing behind me is my grandfather
Who both entered and left this world fighting Death itself
Who cheated Death many times in a war against human monsters
Human demons who were far more frightening than you, Young Prince
Standing behind me are my Karate instructors
Who believe I will in time earn a place among them
Who have taught me to be strong and confident
And that first and foremost, the way of peace is to be preferred

Maybe you are better trained at fighting than I, Young Prince
Should you lay a finger on me, we will find that out
But it doesn’t matter
I have greater things to fight for
Preserving myself for the sake of my daughters, husband, parents
Protecting my untrained co-workers from you
Standing up for the principles other women have fought so hard to establish in my nation
All you have is generations of bad habits and wrong ideas
That and the element of surprise will give me an edge
Believe me, you are not prepared to face me in mortal combat
I think Sun Tsu would back me up on these points

I am not frightened by the flashes of your anger, Young Prince
In spite of what you think, this is nothing new to me
Younger, stronger, taller, perhaps better trained in fighting…
It doesn’t matter.  I am stone to your steel and
You will sit and wait your turn with the others, Young Prince
You will learn that fair is fair
In this way, I will teach you to be better.

When my daughter tells me, Young Prince
That in her social studies class you suddenly realized
“We treat women like garbage in my culture!”
I will know the sweet taste of victory.

And you will be better for your defeat.

An analogy

Something different today – a free-verse poem about two of my favorite things – Karate and sea glass.

assortment sea glass


Waiting in sand
Signing the waivers
High tide washes
Salt sweat drips
Chemical reactions erode
Muscles burn, fibers break down
Pebbles pummel
Fists strike
Waves toss
A student topples onto the mats
Years pass
The process continues
Sharp edges are rounded
Movement becomes graceful and powerful
A gem is formed
An artist is forged
And refined
And refined
Tide after tide
Year after year