African woman

Rhythm In Life

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Soft is not my middle name

But I know to respect tradition

From my ancestors.

Being on my knees for the elders

Is my tradition not weakness.

I will not look you in the eye

If you wish to speak to me

And that is respect not disrespect

As you suspect.

I am prideful

Relentless

And confident

Imitating the women of my life;

Mama, aunt and grandma

.

I am Africa’s daughter

A woman

Papa’s morning sun

Hibiscus flower

Of African soil

Not goods for trade;

Dare not place a price tag on me

In exchange for my hand in Marriage

.

Once I am married,

Pressure me not to bare

A “village” for the clan

For

I am only human

Just like u

Only blessed to be

An African woman.

~Susan McMillan

For many African women who still suffer under the pressure of tradition.

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3.8 – Relics

Allene R. Lowrey

Einarr and Jorir carried their findings somewhat awkwardly between the two of them, Jorir’s reduced height more than offsetting his greater strength. A pair of small piles was already building on the sandy shore near where Stigander, Bardr, and Reki observed. The pieces of timber they dumped in the pile that would be used to build the pyre, but rather than add the trunk wholesale to the (much smaller) pile of offerings they trundled it over to present to the commanders.

“Father. You and Reki should see this.”

“Oh?” An eyebrow quirked in curiosity, Stigander took a rolling step forward. Reki glided up behind.

With a flourish, Einarr flung open the lid of the trunk to reveal the instruments. If he hadn’t found them himself, he’d never have guessed they had been moldering in a chest on the beach long enough to be buried. Reki raised pale hands to her…

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3.7 – Battles’ End

Allene R. Lowrey

The quick man had at the end not been quick enough, and the enemy leader wasted a precious moment in shock. The first man still stared in horror at the blade protruding from his chest when Arring lunged past him and the blade of his axe took off the enemy leader’s arm at the elbow.

“It’s not too late to retreat,” he growled. The other man’s answer was to let his ally slide from the blade, but his face had gone pale.

“Have it your way.” Arring brought his back foot forward and kicked, hard. The enemy leader went flying again, even as the crack of bone said his chest was caved in. Tveir.

Now he turned. Snorli faced three men, but after Arring he was the man on watch best equipped to deal with that. Haki, though, looked like he might be in some trouble. The man stood…

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3.6 – By Man & Monster Beset

Allene R. Lowrey

The chatter of kalalintu from above rattled Einarr’s nerves. They were starting to feint at diving, trying to keep their prey from escaping, nudging them ever closer to the ledge. Not good. “Henir!”

The blond man snapped his head around and Einarr tossed his bow back to him. The archer wasted no time nocking another arrow. He studied the sky, looking for a promising target.

The others had woken up by now. Some of them stuffed their ears, just in case one of the creatures began to sing again. Everyone drew arms.

Another kalalintu dived for the Vidofnings, and Henir took the shot. His arrow caught its shoulder and the wing collapsed, sending the creature tumbling to the ground where the rest of the crew could make short work of it.

Arrows soared. More found their marks than not, based on the furor above, but it hardly seemed enough. Einarr…

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3.5 – Between Wind & Water

Allene R. Lowrey

“What’s this?” Erik paused to look back at Einarr.

“Stop and listen a minute. Hear that?”

After a moment, a growl came from low in Erik’s throat. “Better us than the repair crew.”

Einarr nodded and pushed forward. Father and Bardr, at least, needed to know, and the rest probably should as well. Jorir, at minimum. Everyone whose attention he caught he gestured at his ear. Listen.

Stigander was near the front of the group, paused near a somewhat less rotted-looking ship than most of the others on this section of beach.

“Father,” Einarr said from behind the man’s shoulder. When Stigander’s only response was a turned head and a raised eyebrow, he continued. “We’re approaching the kalalintu flock.”

“You’re sure?”

“Erik heard them, too.”

Stigander nodded. “Spread the word that every man is to have his cotton balls to hand.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Once you’re done, get back up here…

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3.4 – Rivals

Allene R. Lowrey

From where Einarr stood he saw nothing but mist and ocean and the bones of ships. “What happened?”

Sivid’s head popped over the railing from above. “Those freeboaters following us seem to have missed a turn.”

“They’re freeboaters?”

“Pretty sure. Cap’ and Bardr are ‘discussing’ sending aid.”

“What’s there to discuss? Of course we should help them out.”

“And if they’re hostile?”

“We’ll teach them a lesson, of course.”

Sivid laughed and his head disappeared back behind the ship. “Looks like the Captain won that one. We’re coming down!”

***

Their shadow had been rather unceremoniously dumped aground a good half-mile down the coast from where the Vidofnir had made landfall, a good hundred feet out from shore but, for the moment, at least mostly connected by a series of sandbars. Whether that would last with the changing of the tide remained to be seen.

Her crew swarmed about like…

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3.3 – Grave of Ships

Allene R. Lowrey

“Port side, push off! Starboard, brace and pole forward!”

The grinding sound continued and the Vidofnir began to slow. The sail fluttered disconsolately as the tailwind faded away.

“Put your backs into it!” Stigander added his weight to one of the starboard oars before the order was fully out of his mouth.

Einarr stowed his bow and jumped on to one of the port side oars. The fog was growing thicker with every moment.

The first notes of Reki’s song floated out over the Vidofnir, clear and low, and Einarr felt his arms warm and the fatigue of rowing begin to melt away. “Heave!”

More men joined on the oars. He could hear the creaking of wood from a second ship, now, even over the grunts of exertion from the Vidofnings. There was no going back at this point, not with someone else blocking the channel behind them.

The

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