Poem of the Week: Figure and Face

I mostly post my poetry first on Instagram, (unless it is a patron-exclusive poem). Then, each Sunday here on the blog, I post the poem that has got the most Insta likes.

If you’re on Instagram, let’s follow each other. You’ll find my account Orna Ross.poetry here.

The poems are inspired by photographs, sometimes taken by me, sometimes by others.

My most popular poem on Instagram this week was, “Figure and Face”.

And now for this week’s poem:

Figure and Face

Is that what we want
a young woman to be?
A puppet of grace
windowed for the gaze of the world?
A performer en pointe,
trussed in a tutu,
fearful of expansion and age,
dancing steps that are centuries old?

Jump free my dear.
Take a grand jeté
off the sill of beauty.
Throw yourself out of the frame,
the jambs of generalised desire
your agreement helps to create.
Fling off the frills of attention
the leotard of approval
the tights of applause.

Know what it is to cavort
for your own sake.

I have a dream of female minds liberated
from self-lacerating dictates
of figure and face.
Freed from that waste
of overwrought gesture and thought,
what new covenants might we shape?
What kind of new world might we make?

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Orna Ross


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