Poem - Steadfast Woman

Steadfast Woman
(for Teresia Kieuea Teaiwa)
Copyrighted © Nov 1997

Steadfast woman
cries
with strength
gives me
strength
to cry
with her
and speak
my voice
so long unheard.

Steadfast woman
reawakens
ways to think
endless realms
of possibilities.

Steadfast woman
speaks
words strong
of thoughts
held long,
not allowed
to breathe.

Steadfast woman
my heart soars
in grateful pleasure
for your risk,
taken.

I thank you
for your
voice of tears,
for the path
you dared
to take.

I thank you
for my voice
reclaimed
for words
I've yet to speak.

Steadfast woman
your breath
of strength,
of words,
of tears,
have cleared
a path
for me.

About the poem "Steadfast Woman"


This poem is dedicated to Teresia Teaiwa.
Notes for this poem were written immediately
after Teaiwa's presentation at the Center for
Pacific Islands Studies conference in Hawai'i
in December, 1995.

"Steadfast Woman" was written as a personal
note of thanks and acknowledgement of what
I saw as Teaiwa's accountability to her
subject matter. Oftentimes, the critical
examination of a history that bore you
bequeaths painful revelations.

As indigenous Pacific Islanders delve deeper
and broader into their histories, there is a
great sense of responsibility and risk in
presenting findings. As in this paper,
the information shared has potential for
direct impact on the lives of people whose
histories are discussed, including the author.

On another level, I found it encouraging and
motivating to be in the audience of a woman
scholar who identified herself as indigenous
to one of the islands in Micronesia.

Cecilia

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