Nation on the March

Nation on the March
Nation on the March

Sep 26, 2011

Two Poets, Two Poems, Two Continents... one common target..Husband!

Panna Naik (born 1933)  and Judith Viorst ( born 1931) – are two distinguished, octogenarian  lady writer/poets  from two different continents (but now living in one)  and both have written (at least) one poem each on the same subject: how do we in the family / society keep escalating our demands  from  our womenfolk in terms of gearing  up and rising to our expectations , till it culminates into a heart-wringing desperate cry  !

First,  Judith Viorst‘s poem titled  “Self-Improvement Program.”

I’ve finished six pillows in Needlepoint,
And I’m reading Jane Austen and Kant,
And I’m up to the pork with black beans in Advanced Chinese Cooking.
I don’t have to struggle to find myselfPage 6
For I already know what I want.
I want to be healthy and wise and extremely good-looking.
I’m learning new glazes in Pottery Class,
And I’m playing new chords in Guitar,
And in Yoga I’m starting to master the lotus position.
I don’t have to ponder priorities
For I already know what they are;
To be good looking, healthy, and wise.
And adored in addition.
I’m improving my serve with a tennis pro,
And I’m practicing verb forms in Greek,
And in Primal Scream Therapy all my frustrations are vented.
I don’t have to ask what I’m searching for
Since I already know that I seek
To be good-looking, healthy, and wise.
And adored.
And contented.
I’ve bloomed in Organic Gardening,
And in dance I have tightened my thighs,
And in Consciousness Raising there’s no one around who can top me.
And I’m working all day and I’m working all night
To be good-looking, healthy, and wise.
And adored.
And contented.
And brave.
And well-read.
And a marvelous hostess,
And bilingual,
Won’t someone please stop me?

Now Panna Naik (

She goes one step further in her poem dares the people around her and declares her independence and says:

I do not wish to be a emotional cuckoo  and keep singing in someone’s  intellectual cage, speak as they wish me to and dance like a serpent when a flute is played before me. I have wings and sky of my own.

I am my own master and then why need I be afraid of some one.

I do not wish to say ‘yes, yes’ and keep accommodating everyone around me, by speaking, walking, dressing, sleeping, socializing, doing everything everything  in exact  measure that has been cut out for me. I do not wish to be a cuckoo  and keep singing in someone’s  cage.

The poem ( in Gujarati) read thus:

Both the poets have excellently expressed their  sensitivity towards the  systematic enslavement of women in the society  under one  guise or the other. May be it is not true for all places and all times but it is most certainly true for several places even today.

As if to help us end this post on a lighter note, the same Judith Viorst has said elsewhere : When he is late for dinner and I know he must be either having an affair or lying dead in the street, I always hope he's dead.”  

And would she so easily let go her man? No way.  Judith writes elsewhere:  I could be such a wonderful wife to another wife's husband.

Perhaps both the lady poets can have a good laugh now!

And finally, time for one and all to chuckle to make the score : Love All!


  1. I just came across this. Very interesting comments and comparison. Where are you located? Just curious.

    Panna Naik

    1. What a pleasure to be visited, appreciated and blessed by the poetess herself! OMG !
      I too have paid a return visit and left my greetings to answer her curiosity with all humilty. (Have also now spelt her name right and added two pictures above)

  2. વાહ ,ટાંકભાઈ તમે નસીબદાર છો.જે તમને સીધો જ કવી તરફથી અભાર મળ્યો.એમનું લખાણ તો સારું જ છે.'કવિતા'મેગેઝીન માં એમની કવિતા નિયમિત વાંચતી.હવે હું મંગાવતી નથી.પણ મને એમનું લખાણ ગમે છે.તમારી સાઈટ સરસ છે.વાચવાની મજા આવી.

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  4. has a very touching poem ..HOMESICKNESS...which explains why we all have come back to live in our small town homes that we created 31 years back.


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