Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Good Weather, Bad Weather

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

There are good days, fair days and
very bad days. Funny days, serious
days, and unexpected days. Problems,
not always of my own making. And others,
where it is clearly my own fault, I admit.

How shall I compare thee?

There are good rapes, okay rapes,
and very bad rapes. No funny rapes.
So I suppose that makes them all kind
of serious. At times unexpected.


I may give in, under pressure, as it is safer
that way. Less physical damage or injury.
This could be called ‘consent’ in court. So
not proper rape. Though it does not feel like
consent at the time. More defeat really, even
without a struggle. Or putting up a fight.

How shall I conjure your impact?

Like being overruled, overpowered.
Which of course is routine for women.
But violation in the guise of ‘seduction’
sounds sultry and ‘romantic’. More than
idle ‘banter’. And must be my fault
anyway. I obviously asked for it.

Take it as a compliment for heaven’s sake.

It means you are desirable.

You should be so lucky.

© Val Walsh

After Ken Clarke's rape comments we must defend the right to say no

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Passionately involved in feminist and intercultural arts, Val Walsh organises Liverpool's annual poetry event for International Women’s Day. Alongside her poetry, journalism and academic writing, she has co-edited three collections of feminist essays.


Editors' note: When I heard Val perform this poem at the Dead Good Poets, her distinctive voice - calm, clear, matter-of-fact - adding to the power of her words, I practically wrestled it off her there and then. Clare