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Unclean (Free verse) by Dovina
It mattered not what Mohammed taught— the works, the prayers, the pillars. Her thoughts were not concerned with these as sisters dressed her wounds and tried as best they could to soothe her troubled mind. Neither threat of virus nor fetus’ curse frightened a hurt soul more than one all-important fear. Not humiliation or disgrace, pain, or memory of his face; and so she asked with trepidation: Will it show? Will my husband know? All the sisters understood, and would have feared the same had they been lying on that bed. So as night turned into morning she withheld her screams of pain, while women mended, bandaged wounds, and added other cuts and bruises to disguise as best they could injury as a robbers act, to spare their friend a greater pain— a husband’s eye, keen to learn if his wife’s become unclean, and if she is, to cast her out for Allah’s good.

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Arithmetic Mean: 6.5
Weighted score: 5.4034123
Overall Rank: 3103
Posted: June 13, 2005 4:57 PM PDT; Last modified: June 13, 2005 4:57 PM PDT
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[9] deleted user @ | 13-Jun-05/5:53 PM | Reply
>>and added other cuts and bruises
to disguise as best they could
injury as a robbers act<<
The most horrifying part, in fact.

The woman's question; a breathtaking moment.

[n/a] horus8 @ | 13-Jun-05/7:06 PM | Reply
Christ, you'r like CNN but with bigger tits and a smaller camera.
[9] deleted user @ > horus8 | 13-Jun-05/7:09 PM | Reply
That's one of the most insensitive remarks I've ever seen on internet
[5] Bankrupt_Word_Clerk @ > deleted user | 14-Jun-05/12:35 AM | Reply
It's also an insensitive poem. In fact, it's as intolerant as Jew-hating; In my humble opinion.
[n/a] Bluemonkey @ > Bankrupt_Word_Clerk | 14-Jun-05/9:49 AM | Reply
You're an even bigger idiot. As intolerant as Jew-Hating? Are you living in a retard home?
[5] Bankrupt_Word_Clerk @ > Bluemonkey | 14-Jun-05/11:06 AM | Reply
yes, I'm a med-alert bracelet wearing, helmeted, short-bus riding, window-licking, retard home living idiot.
[9] al-naafiysh @ > Bankrupt_Word_Clerk | 15-Jun-05/2:52 AM | Reply
Some Black's believe in Mohammed they call themself's Muslim's.
White's also and many more races.
[8] zodiac @ > al-naafiysh | 15-Jun-05/3:42 AM | Reply
We've already established on another post that this poem is about Arab Muslims.
[8] zodiac @ > Bankrupt_Word_Clerk | 15-Jun-05/3:40 AM | Reply
I'm curious: Why do you think this poem is as intolerant as Jew-hating? Because it presents some Muslims in an unflattering light, with the suggestion it's more than a few isolated Muslims she's talking about? And because that's what Jew-haters try to do with Jews?

Let me try to set your mind at ease: If Dovina's poem is a little, um, inaccurate or ignorant in parts, the concern of the raped woman is a real and widespread in the Middle East. Actually, I happen to be sitting in an internet cafe in the Kingdom of Jordan and there's a woman using the computer next to me. Let me ask her.

zodiac: If you were raped would you be afraid of some terrible repercussion from your husband, presumably a devout Muslim?

Nameless Muslim Woman: Oh yes, definitely.

So there you have it. Dovina's just told the semi-truth about a bad aspect of the Arabic world. If she hasn't included a lot of the good stuff about it, so what, and she probably doesn't hear a lot about that part. Neither have you, for that matter. And I notice you're not criticizing a lot of poems that point out America's bad aspects. It seems like you're suggesting any poem that doesn't point out an equal number of good and bad aspects of something is as intolerant as Jew-hating. Is that really what you want to say?

PS-About Jew-hating. Jews are, naturally, hated by practically everyone in this country. But then, Jews did simply take an entire, incredibly-useful piece of land that belong to Arabs, displacing its Muslim residents, and, ever since, regularly reneging on promises they've made to Arabic countries, like removing their hundreds of settlements from the sliver of land left to Palestinians - a sliver of land legally owned and occupied by Arabs since antiquity. Or, like the treaty promising Jordan water from Israel's three (and soon to be six) dams on the Jordan River, in exchange for the devastation wrought in Jordan by the River's decreased flow.

Anyway, would you say this hatred is, um, intolerant?
[n/a] Bluemonkey @ > deleted user | 14-Jun-05/9:48 AM | Reply
You're an idiot. There's much worse than that out there.
[9] deleted user @ > Bluemonkey | 14-Jun-05/9:54 AM | Reply
That's one of the most stupid remarks I have ever read on internet
[5] Bankrupt_Word_Clerk @ | 14-Jun-05/12:36 AM | Reply
I disagreed with the general premise of your poem.

However, I did see the images in my head as I read it.
[n/a] Dovina @ > Bankrupt_Word_Clerk | 14-Jun-05/9:19 AM | Reply
I’m glad you saw the scene as you read it. Any disagreement with premise or a feeling that the poem is insensitive, I fully respect. This story was told to me by a person close to the events, and told as a true story.
[7] Blue Magpie @ | 14-Jun-05/11:42 PM | Reply
I think you have made a good attempt here, to describe something that is worthy of poetry. However it needs a little work. Have you actually read the Koran, Mohammod teaches great respect for women, the attitude of Islamic men depicted here, derives from the pre-mohammadan culture (I Recommend "The Arab Mind" by Raphael Patai), so some mention of the need for forgiveness and understanding that mohammad taught might have been better than than line 2 as it is.

Disease might be better than virus, because it is more encompassing.

Not(neither) humiliation or disgrace,
pain, or (the)memory of his face;

There is nothing poetic in the modern trend to simple leave words out, I mean words that grammatically should be there, such as the definite and indefinite articles , in fact it makes a sentence look ugly.

injury as a robbers act,
the injury as a robber's act,

to cast her out for Allah’s good.
to be cast her out for Allah’s blessing.

Any Muslem would tell you no man can do something for the good of God, God is already as good as it is possible to be. They do things in God's name, or in order to satisfy God's commands

[n/a] Dovina @ > Blue Magpie | 16-Jun-05/3:39 PM | Reply
Please see zodiac’s explanation below on how different Islamic culture is from Mohammed’s teaching. We are dealing with a male-centered society where women are dirt!

I have looked at your suggested line edits and, while I find no overt grammatical errors or ugly structure, your opinion on this is as good as mine. Your changes would simplify the reading, making it more like an essay, less like a poem.

Your point about trying to make Allah better by casting the woman out would be a good point if that were what I meant. (It’s the same point zodiac makes below.) The fact that both of you took it that way means that I might want to rephrase. Surely, the husband did not think Allah needs improvement. He probably thought that anything done to respect or adore Allah would be a good thing – “for Allah’s good.” I think I’ll change the last line to “to cast her out in Allah’s name.”

A interesting thing about both Islam and Christianity is that the founder’s teachings have little impact the practices of those religions. Some of the churches are beginning to see that Jesus’ teachings actually have value as they are written, and some of the Islamic teachers are beginning to do the same with Mohammed’s words.
[8] zodiac @ | 15-Jun-05/2:30 AM | Reply
Is this poem about Muslims in the 9th century?

First off, in response to your "cast out of society" comment from my post, you should know that Jordan (along with Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and many neighborhoods in Egypt and UAE) is middling liberal for Islamic countries. Here, a raped-but-married woman would either, one, say nothing and neither would her husband or, two, be encouraged by her family to return to her parents' house, not go outside very much, be unemployed, and not have many friends besides her family and close neighbors. In other words, she'd be exactly as she was before she got married and mostly as she was WHILE she was married, except she naturally wouldn't be hoping to get married again. (This, incidentally, is the situation of about a dozen women I know whose marriages have broken up for some reason or other.) You must understand: In almost no part of the Middle East do women BELONG to any society they can be cast out of. If your raped woman came from my part of the world, she would be divorced but IN EVERY RESPECT indistinguishable from any other woman in the country. In other words, she'd be practically invisible.

The more real danger (and this is what separates us from Saudi Arabia and non-liberal Muslim countries - that is, it's bad enough here and gets worse there,) is that she'll be killed or beaten into some crippled state by her husband or brothers. You can call this "cast out of society" if you want, but it's really more accurately "cast out of earthly existence altogether."

That said, about the poem. Yes, Mohammed did in fact teach respect for women. All Muslims know this. In fact, most Muslims know that after Mohammed's famous statement that men can marry "one, two, three, or even four women" he immediately added, "but you have to love them exactly the same amount." Most Muslims also know that, this being impossible, it's essentially the same thing as saying you can't marry more than one. And most don't care. Muslims here (and at least in the parts of the Arabic world I see on tv) are about as Muslim as most Americans are Christian. Pointing out that Muslims aren't exactly adhering to the letter of their faith is pretty much a losing battle, and about as useful as pointing out that Christians aren't either. That is to say, not useful at all.

Stanza 2: "disgrace" made me laugh.

Stanza 4: Robbers! Tee-hee. For one, there are much fewer violent robbers in the Middle East than rapists. As a cover-up, this would be totally unbelievable. For another thing, and more importantly, a woman violently robbed will be as much disgraced as a woman raped; it's just as Haram, and it will simply be assumed that she was raped, too. As far as my experience goes, she'd be just as well off as if she'd admitted the rape. If you're going to say your Muslim friend tried this dodge - well, good luck to her. I don't see how it worked.

Also, "cast her out for Allah's good": No non-insane person in the Arabic world would say or think something like this. Everybody here knows Allah is already all-good. It's an enormous sin to think he could be improved or kept from taint, i.e., that something could be done for his good. In reality, she's cast out for the men of the community's good. All repression of women under Islam, from the Qura'an down, is justified as a way of protecting MEN who, exposed to women's charms, even a wisp of her hair, would not be able to keep themselves from sinning. It's flattering, see? The women's good is secondary. Obviously, a woman who's already been raped would pose double the temptation to men; that's why they need to be protected from her. Don't ask me to explain why. I can't.

Good poetry, though.
[n/a] Dovina @ > zodiac | 16-Jun-05/12:07 PM | Reply
Although the story was told as true, I suspect that the teller may have exaggerated the part about making her look like she’s been robbed. I think, from what you say and what I have read about Islamic societies, (and I’m talking about strict Islam like it was in Afghanistan before the war), that the robbed-woman image would not pass. I’ll change the poem to have her wounded as if from an accident of some kind.

I don’t know why you laugh at “disgrace” in Stanza 2. Humiliation and a feeling of being disgraced are usual parts of rape-trauma. I was pointing out that for this woman those feelings are a far lesser concern that her husband’s discovery that she’d been raped.

See my answer above for "cast her out for Allah's good"
[9] deleted user @ > Dovina | 16-Jun-05/4:32 PM | Reply
'for Allah's good' may be an incorrect phrasing, but that's exactly why I like it. Keep it in please.
[9] deleted user @ > deleted user | 16-Jun-05/4:40 PM | Reply
Not incorrect phrasing; incorrect quoting. Like that even more.
[8] zodiac @ > Dovina | 18-Jun-05/12:56 AM | Reply
ADDENDUM: I talked to my wife about the poem, thinking that since she's a woman working with Muslim women alone (instead of Muslim women dealing with a man - me), she'd have a different and more accurate perspective on things. I hope you don't mind. She basically agreed with all my points, but added that she could imagine a situation where a raped woman would be given money and encouraged (or practically forced) by her family to move for her own safety somewhere anonymous and faraway, like the capital or America. This would be tantamount to being 'cast out of society' and the most disgraceful thing a woman here could imagine. However, she said the two options I named - returning to premarried status in her parents' house or being beaten to death - were the most likely, and emphasized that, outside of the liberal Mideast, the death option would be the most likely. Also, she mentioned that if this Muslim woman was in America or Europe, everything in this poem (including the beating by robbers, ironically!) would be more likely. Not that she'd be totally safe from killing; it's just that America and Europe have more robbers and rapists.

I know - and knew - what you meant by "cast her out for Allah's good". You're on the righter track now, it seems.
[7] Caducus @ | 15-Jun-05/4:50 AM | Reply
'injury as a robbers act' is the seminal line. I dont think the viewpoint in this is incendiary but quite considerate and weighted. You could tighten it up a bit and it would hit harder as a result.

Overall pfg.
[n/a] Dovina @ > Caducus | 16-Jun-05/12:08 PM | Reply
Again, thanks for the comment. I am changing the “robbers” line; see above comments.
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