"Rustling Petticoats" - Gregory de Rocher

A rustling petticoat goes a long way towards
Defining a woman in most men's minds,
Until they think of their mothers.

Or is it that in most men's minds
Their mothers are not women?
Or at least not among those women
Most men think of when they think of women?

When most men begin thinking again,
After thinking of women,
They doubtless realize that
Thinking of women in rustling petticoats
Sometimes leads to women becoming mothers.
And this is precisely when most men stop such thinking
Because they don't enjoy picturing
Their own mothers in rustling petticoats.

Rather, they enjoy thinking of
Strange women in rustling petticoats,
Not their mothers who gave them their breasts,
Who saw their tiny bodies naked,
Who washed their tiny parts,
Cleansing them of their liquid and solid excrement
As all good mothers have done, still do
And still will go on, happily or willy-nilly, doing
Even though they too might think,
On and off, and from time to time,
Of stepping into and out of rustling petticoats
Because they know what a long way such things go
Towards defining a woman in most men's minds.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The title of this poem comes from the first English translation (1953, now largely discredited) of Simone de Beauvoir's monumental study on women's condition in Western thought (Le deuxième sexe, 1949). I nonetheless prefer the first translation of the author's phrase (jupon à frou-frou) to the new and now authoritative translation (2010): "frilly" because "rustling" captured an auditory aspect of the garment much more voluptuously than did "frilly."