World Student Christian Federation - Asia-Pacific Region (WSCF-AP)
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The Bent Woman – a poem

by Malini Devananda

In walked a woman
Bent in two
Though she was forbidden
To enter that space

What a curse’d woman
To suffer in this manner
And how dare she enter
A forbidden space

Shunned by the people
For her physical handicap
Emotionally scarred
For no fault of hers

The people were aghast
As Jesus touched her
Making her straight
In compassionate love

How dare he desecrate
Our holy day
And disgrace himself
By touching her

“You hypocrite” cried Jesus
In anger and sadness
You do help your animals
On the Sabbath day

How much more precious
Is this daughter of Sarah
Who for eighteen long years
Has been bent in two

At this saying, ‘the men of God’
Looked at each other, amazed and puzzled,
How can she, who’s born to serve
Be more precious than our useful beasts.

Twenty-one centuries have gone and come
Still we women are bent in two
With customs and traditions, culture and practice
That keep us bound at every turn

It’s time we stepped into forbidden space
Speaking out boldly without fear
To claim our place in the reign of God
For God takes the side of the poor and the bound

We are the wounded, we are the healers
Made strong through oppression and untold suffering
We dare to dream of an inclusive community
Breaking the structures of hierarchy and patriarchy