Tag Archives: Finuala Dowling poems

Finuala Dowling’s ‘Doo-wop girls of the universe’

  
 
Doo-wop girls of the universe
Finuala Dowling
 
I know something you don’t know
about the women you know –
those makers of decisions,
physicians, rhetoricians,
amiable stage technicians,
indignant politicians,
formidable statisticians,
quiet dieticians
and the non-icians too,
the lovely -ists:
the linguists,
lyricists,
artists,
activists.
 
Almost every woman I’ve ever known –
whether she be -ician or she be -ist –
has told me once or shown
she’d really come into her own as
a doo-wop girl.
 
So put her in the footlights,
put her at the backing mikes,
right up there on the dais,
maybe slightly out of focus
while some man sings his opus,
the undisputed locus
of attention.
 
Then while the main man
belts out the main track
she’ll be in the back
going like so –
shoulders, head and toes –
hips, chest, east, west.
Best way to describe her pose
is “biding”,
she’s biding time on the sidelines
waiting for the best lines –
the reprise –
the one we’re born cooing:
ooby shooby doo
right on cue.
 
Look, I’m known to generalise
but I’d like to emphasise
that every woman has inside
a doo-wop girl.
 
Give her the mike, Mike
or I’ll call my sisters,
’cause I got sisters,
and I’ll say: “Sisters,
you hang up those rubber gloves
you freeze that chicken
you unplug that iron
you come with me
we be free
we be threeness
we be supremes
we be the unforced
force of fourness
not sad, not terse:
doo-wop girls of the universe.”
 
 
from Doo-wop girls of the universe (Penguin, 2006)