Poetry: The Book of my Enemy — One Man to Another | clivejames.com
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One Man to Another

Salute me! I have tamed my daughter’s face
With hot oil, and my honour has been saved.
It’s not to be defied that I have slaved.
She talks a lot less now she knows her place.

Most of her mouth can still move, and one eye
Could stare in hatred if she wanted to.
I’m proud to say her protests have been few
Apart from that absurd initial cry.

That was the evil spirit leaving her.
She really should have dealt with it herself.
She said she’d rather end up on the shelf
Than marry our best choice. What thoughts occur

To girls nowadays! Next they will want a say
In what to wear and when to buy a book.
Here, take your mother’s mirror. Take a look.
What have you got in store for me today?

You thought to shake my faith? Well, you have found
My faith shakes you, and will again, I swear,
If you continue with that hangdog air:
If you continue with that whining sound.

Can’t you be grateful we still keep you here?
We could have sent you out there to the dust
Where people fight for every cowpat crust.
We don’t ask for a grin from ear to ear,

But now no man would want you, we still do,
So cut the sulky pout. To many another
Far worse than this has happened. Ask your mother.
I don’t know what the world is coming to.

See how she slinks inside. If not with grace
She seems to have accepted, more or less,
Some limit to a woman’s wilfulness.
The lesson hurt us both, but met the case.

Salute me! I have tamed my daughter’s face.