Pushing the Door & Other Poems by Jacqueline Jules

The Heroines Among Us

Jacqueline Jules shows us the perspective of the heroines she admires, Shirley Chisholm, Grandma Moses, Mother Jones. Read her engaging poetry about these exceptional women!

Pushing the Door
by Jacqueline Jules

Shirley Chisholm wanted change.

To push the door ajar,
for someone not white, not male.

In 1972, when a woman
still had to fight to see her name
on a credit card, Shirley
appeared on television
in a presidential debate.

She never doubted her right
to be a candidate
in a race where being female
was a bigger barrier
than being black.

And if the door didn’t open
all the way, it didn’t slam either.

Shirley’s foot remains,
firmly creating a space
for those coming after
to come through.

Granny with a Paintbrush
by Jacqueline Jules

Too old for farm work, Grandma Moses
considered raising chickens.

Rocking on a porch chair—
even with hands too arthritic
to hold a needle—was beyond
the imagination of an energetic soul
accustomed to country chores.

Instead, she picked up a paintbrush
to re-imagine her homespun days
of sugaring, quilting, haying,
and making apple butter.
Her colors so vivid
a collector passing by a drug store window
couldn’t rest until he possessed every
painting from her wrinkled, untrained hand.

Who would have thought?
A farming wife
in her sunset years
could surprise us so
with a new scenery of success—
illustrating how to age
without porch or rocking chair.

A Mother to Millions
by Jacqueline Jules

Mary had no family of her own,
not after the yellow fever of 1867.

Husband and four babies under five
all dead, she sought solace in Chicago,
sewing dresses for the wealthy
until the Great Fire of 1871
rendered her homeless.

But that’s all backstory, maybe
unknown to the workers
she lifted from fear to their feet.

“I’m not a humanitarian,
I’m a hell-raiser.”

Mary’s blazing rage
at steel mills, coal mines,
railroads, and factories
led strikes across the country,
making those in power
so afraid of an old lady
in a long black dress, she was
deemed the most dangerous
woman in America.

“Pray for the dead and
fight like hell for the living.”

“Mother Jones” to millions,
Mary looked beyond her own losses
to offer the love she still had to give.


Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including Beltway Poetry NewsInnisfree Poetry JournalThe Paterson Literary ReviewCider Press Review, Potomac Review, Inkwell, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. She lives in Arlington, Virginia.


Visit her online at https://metaphoricaltruths.blogspot.com/

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