My sisters hand I hold to walk a while
her name is lost, as mine is soon to be,
our feet so miniscule but yet reviled
a proud oppression bound in artistry.

Remembering the pain of melting bones,
when all we did was lay on rattan mats,
our girlish fantasies were forged in stone
to wed with either rabbit or a rat.

We lent upon each others shaky arms
our strength collaborated on a fan
until we came of age and subtle charms
two sisters love divided by a man.

For all we shared beneath our silken sheet
dictated by the size of bandaged feet.

Written for Dverse poetry pub’s open form night, come and join me in a g and t 😀


13 responses to “Bonded

  1. Shan,

    Incredibly moving and well written. I have always reeled at the thought that anyone would be so barbaric as to bind feet and see how the practice created lasting bonds between the victims of such torture.


  2. Well what a coincidence–I just posted a poem on this same subject a few days ago using the same photo! I really like your poem–well done–on a harsh, inhumane topic.

  3. You’ve written me a sonnet, my friend – and I love it. I would offer this to all who would study iambic pentameter because it is “perfect” here and I know how hard you studied and practiced to perfect this rhythm and this foot because as you said, the music in your head is jazz refrains of ornaments and embellishments. (I really understand this) and yet you sat on your Welsh musical ear and retuned it to the English sing-song. And it is quite divine here. Re-post again when Luke covers sonnets but if you take an urge you could have a go at the rime royal! Sending hugs, haven’t “seen” you a lot lately.

    Love the topic and the way you developed it. Imagine men falling in love with those bent, deformed feet?!

  4. “put me out of my misery people”? omg, I’ve missed you here. beautiful sonnet. suck that a man came between them. hope you are well, S.

  5. What a great story. And, I still have a horrible time wrapping my brain around this horrid custom. But, I suppose all cultures do things that the others wouldn’t understand all in the name of beauty. And, you really are good at iambic pentameter 🙂

  6. ohhhh what an image you caught…i remember the first time when i read about that “small feet” tradition and how horrified i felt…and now seeing this photo and reading your words painting such a visual expression…

  7. As you have put us out of our misery with your return! know you were terribly missed, lady! And this sad tale is one that reads perfectly (all that Gay said…she’s got better lingo than me!)

  8. you are THE BEST poet when it comes to following form without losing the emotions. an horrific practice i hope doesn’t still go on. a sad ending for the sisters. i’ve missed you! ♥ sending Love & Hugs ♥

  9. You are the mistress of form…this a heart wrenching sonnet…what an awful practice, it doesn’t bear thinking about! As the others have said, so good to see you back! 🙂

Put me out of my misery people!

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