Knowing Your Place
If you would but only know your place,
Curb your ambition for others' domain,
You would not have to suffer so much pain--
-Stepped on, passed over, treated as menace,
Or garbage. You would never have to know
The raw wounds of wrenching separations,
Aborted babes, or ruthless evictions.
Annoyance will grow bigger as you grow.
In a realm ordered against transgression,
Resentments rise, though with you no fault lies.
I, for one, hold you in as high estimation
As any reigning focus of all eyes.
Those who hear me say, "She speaks of women
Of these days. So forward, over-reaching,
Crossing bounds!" Well, I know I'm just speaking
To you, Mentha, spade in hand in my garden.
Wholesome, perennial, primal perchance
-Spearmint, peppermint, applemint and more
-Every one, in spite of all, a survivor,
Raising proud, pretty head with nonchalance.
But in my words admiring your forward darts,
Undaunted in every well-guarded place
Some may hear thumpings of their guilty hearts,
That hardened long, hurt now for lack of grace.
Sita Kapadia, born and educated in India, is a CUNY professor of English, emeritus. A versatile educator, writer, poet, and artist, she brings her rich multicultural experience to her work. Now in Houston, Kapadia tends her family and her garden and is currently writing a biography of Kasturba, wife of Mahatma Gandhi.
© 1996, The Women in Literature and Life Assembly of the National Council of Teachers of English (ISSN #1065-9080). Permission is given to copy any article provided credit is given and the copies are not intended for resale.
Reference Citation: Kapadia, Sita. (1996). "Knowing Your Place." WILLA, Volume V, p. 20.