Anna Percy: Unseen Wollstonecraft

Before the writing exercises we discussed public opinion of Mary Wollstonecraft, one of which sayings was ‘hyena in petticoats’!

Portrait of Wollstonecraft Unseen by The Public Till the 1950s

you have rationed your flesh

want the focus to be on your eyes

you have covered your soft white throat

no one can go for the jugular

you stare out at your adoring fan

and those who seek to brand you

as unfeminine you will laugh

later like a hyena

in your out of view petticoats

you are saying I will stare you out

I will out-wit you my words will endure

see the set of my shoulders

see these ruffled cuffs

my hands are empty

they will be turned to no purpose but my own

there is that small giveaway in your hands

that self-touch just fingertips

I imagine you were unsure

what to do with your hands

the painter in his folly

might have provided a table of props

an ostentatious quill, a scroll, a book, a knife

(this is me in 2015 crediting your sharpness,

ability to engender fear)

you would have turned them all down

you would want this portrait to equal

the simplicity afforded to pompous merchants.



The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Anna Percy, Feminist thinking, Poetry Scrawls

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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