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    [ID] => 19486
    [post_author] => 11
    [post_date] => 2018-10-03 12:02:46
    [post_date_gmt] => 2018-10-03 12:02:46
    [post_content] => To hold her down, that mother’s tongue,
you need an iron plate
to stop her scolding – a man-made tongue
rigid and silent in its strength.

Language can be tamed and tongues
be taught. All she can do is
dribble now, around that held-firm tongue
and utter baby sounds – no scolding words.

Her head is held in an iron frame
locked tight – we hold the key
to the cage we made, which holds
that tongue of hers, to teach it
to be soft again, no longer sharp.

And to crown it all, a little bell
to tell the world what she has done.

So behold a speechless scold
who can only nod her head
and shake her little clapper.
    [post_title] => A Traditional Cure
    [post_excerpt] => 
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    [post_name] => a-traditional-cure
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    [pinged] => 
    [post_modified] => 2018-10-04 09:54:29
    [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-10-04 09:54:29
    [post_content_filtered] => 
    [post_parent] => 0
    [guid] => http://poems.poetrysociety.org.uk/?post_type=poems&p=19486
    [menu_order] => 0
    [post_type] => poems
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        (
            [wpcf-published-in] => 
            [wpcf-date-published] => 2018
            [wpcf-summary-description] => Winner of The Poetry Society's Stanza Poetry Competition 2018 on the theme of 'Tradition', judged by Penelope Shuttle.

Penelope: The structure of this poem is strong as iron. A foreboding sense of constraint powers it forward, exemplified by the iron of the scold’s bridle. It speaks to us of the misogyny that has bullied and humiliated women into submission and silence for centuries, and implies throughout that this repression continues by other means today. This poem glances productively at the MeToo movement, without ever dipping into polemic. There is a nuanced pun in the very term ‘scold’s bridle’, ie: = ‘bridal’, which this poem also offers us. To silence a person is to censor them, to control them, to deny their identity. The poem holds all these implications in an iron grasp. There’s not a wasted word. The poem is direct, unambiguous, shocking. The writer also includes another telling pun in the opening line; the phrase ‘that mother’s tongue’ also contains within it ‘mother-tongue’ and refers us, perhaps, to marginal languages, and the life experiences held within them, now endangered by the bigger languages (English, Mandarin, Spanish). We learn to speak, by and large, from our mothering. Our mothers give us our mother tongue, the gift of language. This poem sprang living and bold from the page. It inhabits the remit of the theme, ‘tradition’, to its fullest richest extent.

Richard: I have four daughters and as a man you’re very conscious of how women make their way in the world. I have a strong background in history and I’m very aware of how women are muzzled metaphorically as well as literally.
            [wpcf-rights-information] => 
            [wpcf-poem-award] => Winner, Stanza Poetry Competition 2018
            [wpcf_pr_belongs] => 
        )

    [poet_data] => stdClass Object
        (
            [ID] => 19483
            [forename] => 
            [surname] => 
            [title] => Richard Westcott
            [slug] => richard-westcott
            [content] => Once upon a time, Richard Westcott was a doctor. Although cobwebs now hang from his stethoscope, his poetry often remembers his past life, helping to inspire (if that’s the right word) his poetry, in particular his pamphlet There they live much longer, published by Indigo Dreams.

He’s won a prize and commendation or two here and there, worked on several books with photographer Chris Chapman and his poems have appeared in various places including the Mary Evans Poetry Blog, Lighten Up Online, the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ledbury Festival site.

He blogs at www.richardwestcottspoetry.com
        )

)
stdClass Object
(
    [ID] => 19483
    [forename] => 
    [surname] => 
    [title] => Richard Westcott
    [slug] => richard-westcott
    [content] => Once upon a time, Richard Westcott was a doctor. Although cobwebs now hang from his stethoscope, his poetry often remembers his past life, helping to inspire (if that’s the right word) his poetry, in particular his pamphlet There they live much longer, published by Indigo Dreams.

He’s won a prize and commendation or two here and there, worked on several books with photographer Chris Chapman and his poems have appeared in various places including the Mary Evans Poetry Blog, Lighten Up Online, the Pitt Rivers Museum and the Ledbury Festival site.

He blogs at www.richardwestcottspoetry.com
)

A Traditional Cure

Richard Westcott

To hold her down, that mother’s tongue,
you need an iron plate
to stop her scolding – a man-made tongue
rigid and silent in its strength.

Language can be tamed and tongues
be taught. All she can do is
dribble now, around that held-firm tongue
and utter baby sounds – no scolding words.

Her head is held in an iron frame
locked tight – we hold the key
to the cage we made, which holds
that tongue of hers, to teach it
to be soft again, no longer sharp.

And to crown it all, a little bell
to tell the world what she has done.

So behold a speechless scold
who can only nod her head
and shake her little clapper.