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by Anne Wafer

Who was the first woman?
Ape woman? daughter of woman ape?
Was her birth a great occasion,
Celebrated by custom and ritual?
Or did her mother slip quietly into the forest
For the bloody and painful task?
And was she reared in a cosy cave,
Playing with brothers and sisters,
Waiting for Daddy to come home with meat?
Or was life a struggle, bitter and ceaseless, for child and mother alone?

When her time came for mating
Was it loving courtship or rape?
Or did she go rampaging through the jungle
In a wild white-hot heat?
And when her own children arrived
Did she light the first fire to keep them warm?
Did she speak the first word to them?
Or throw the first weapon to scare away tigers?
And then one day, burdened with a skinful of roots,
A baby on one hip, another in her belly,
And the toddler whining to be carried,
Did she invent the wheel?


Taken from ‘This is Where We Came In’ (1992), page 57.

Anne Wafer

William Wohlgemuth