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Poems | Poems | Burqa


At last, the perfect outfit,
the one all women
have been waiting for
and centuries of couturiers
have strived to envision:
the ultimate female attire.

Herstory can be followed
through all cultures and ages
viewing the clothes
that women have worn:
feet bound into tiny sizes,
a wasp-like waist,
a nun's habit,
the sensual sari,
whale-bone corset,
hoop skirt,
flapper dress,
a power suit,
flowered housedress,
off-the-shoulder ball gown,
bosom-flattering empire,
Victorian petticoats—
the human mind has designed
an almost endless parade
of fashion shape and form
to fit, conceal, adorn,
accentuate, sculpt
and present the soft shape
of a woman's body—
breast and buttock,
hips and waist,
neckline and thighs,
the ankle, the foot,
the throat and curve of spine,
backless, strapless, topless,
form-fitting, A-line—
we have pretty much
run the gamut.

Until now, in the beginning
of the twenty-first century,
a singular tradition made universal:
cover the female body
from crown of head
to tip of foot
in an all-encompassing tent:
not even the face revealed.
Here is the answer
to every clothes dilemma
the fair sex has ever deliberated.
Simply make the woman invisible.
She will see no evil
hear no evil
and especially speak no evil.
Woman will not tempt
man—drawing him
into the lure of female beauty.

Covered from top to bottom,
young women, old women—
no one can distinguish
age or intelligence,
class or race,
comely from plain,
svelte or curvaceous.

A few bright colours
or somber ones,
a swaddling of fabric
and presto—an entire
documentary of style
and human history
via the feminine
neatly sewn up,
under the wrap of the burqa.

Embrace the future,
Let fabrication cease to exist,
let profit end,
let all women wear
the same outfit.

The mothers, daughters, wives
sisters, lovers,
the goddess in her many guises
will walk imperceptibly
throughout the world.

The early morning breeze
will stir the folds
of her coloured robe,
her loveliness seen by no one:
her eyes—those windows of the soul—
perfectly and forever concealed.

When all women wear burqas
it will be an amazing sight:
nothing left to be seen of a woman's body;
the decorative feminine,
the seductress,
the allure of being female
become a flowing cloth.
Here, in the twenty-first century,
fifty-two percent of human beings
will move silently, invisibly,
and oh, so gently,
slipping through the shadows
of a world where gender
is more powerful
than flowers or weapons,
than nations or culture,
than desire or imagination.


Copyright by Carolyn Zonailo:, 2009 | Poems | Burqa
Wave Goddess
The Wave Goddess
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Zonailo attended ...
CZ is a visionary poet who writes with compassion and careful detail about the world she lives in.
GoddessThe Goddess in the Garden combines mystical insight and sensual language to evoke a timeless meadow where humans and deities play out eternal passions.
She draws on her study of mythology, astrology, and Jungian psychology, for a seemingly inexhaustible source of imagery.
There is a quality in her work which makes all her poems hers, but Zonailo’s style does differ. Compendium is a collection of short, lyrical poetry; Zone 5 of prose. Each book is an extension of her poetic exploration and a separate expression.
Over the years of sitting in Grant's Cafe or the Europa and talking poetry with Lewis Gretsinger, the questions have been asked: why write? what are you saying? what are your poetics?
Last Will and Testament
I give my soul to God.
I give my body to the earth.
I give my poems to posterity.
I give my spirit to tolerance.
I give my mind to the future.
Forthcoming Titles
The Land of Motionless ChildhoodThe Land of Motionless Childhood is a memoir of short stories by Carolyn Zonailo about growing up in Vancouver, and her Doukhobor heritage.
Photo Gallery
CZPictures of CZ from her 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
Literary Papers
Spanning the years 1955 to 2005, the Carolyn Zonailo Papers holds, as nearly as possible, a currently complete collection of Zonailo's extant literary papers.
CZ Go to the Top of the Page.
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