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While at the [SWUUW] conference this year, I wrote a tribute poem to the women of SWUUW in particular. From the third of wave of feminists to you all...thanks.


Birthright: The Third Wave

She changes everything she touches
The women in my life have been a sacred circle;
They are weavers of a web of history and love,
Committed to change, committed to justice, committed to the journey.
(We are sisters, on a journey, singing out as one)


Their threads have led me to books and music and protests.
Their threads have held me suspended and safe, saved me from
An abyss of self loathing.
Their threads have mended me when I was frayed and
Pieced together disparate cloths, fabric from the different pieces
Of my soul.


Their voices sing for freedom.
Their bodies and minds have met injustice and suffering.
Their bodies and minds have delivered miracles,
The soft flesh of newborn


They have given me a labyrinth for contemplation
And songs to sing outside the capitol
Or the detention center
Or in my classroom
Or in my daughter’s room, at night as she sleeps.
They have given me the bright colors of patchwork quilts
and hippie skirts
and I wear them in my hair
and on my toes
and emblazoned in tattoos.


They have given me gardening tools and seeds,
And a little plot of ground to green
And I call this place
Although I will gladly share the harvest
After the seeds have become vegetables and fruits and flowers.
There is a basket for each visitor—you can fill one if you like.
Just plant some seeds yourself,
There’s plenty more space
In this community garden.
We can share the compost pile,
it is rich and full and warm.
(Heyanna hoyanna heyanna ho)


We are struggling, each of us in our own place on the path
To the center.
Some of them are waiting for me now,
Already there,
And I can hear their voices, softly:
(And everything she touches changes.)


--Sarah Oglesby-Dunegan


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