modesty verses

this sex ting’s esoteric,

belonging to a few.

not for girls like me

who sprouted perched in pews.


when The Bible says you cannot,

you repress & grit your teeth.

else demons go come and get you,

drag you underneath.


roasting like groundnut,

legs crossed like a saint;

sighing at my coronation as

the Empress of Restraint


my body feels malnourished,

dormant, out of sight.

like darkness broke into my house

& sucked out the light.


my mind’s at constant war

with the desires of its host.

‘maybe them’ turns into no;

yes’s to almost.


boundaries built like Jericho;

self control worn like a gown.

who will march my city seven times,

tear this fortress down?


my body’s supposedly a temple,

but worshipped it is not.

Oshun & her power,

i seem to have forgot.


is it due to high standards,

or i deep down feel ashamed?

has fear lain me crippled,

forced me meek & chained?


is it the cross that chokes me,

when hands reach around my neck?

or spectres who lay in waiting,

to merk me at mention of flesh?


i’m told i’m a better woman for it

but i don’t believe dat to be true.

no luvvin takes me among the gods,

i do not writhe in morning dew.


however it’s what i’ve been,

a thing i haven’t changed.

to do what’s perceived as meaningless

feels dirty, feels strange.


waiting is no good time,

but it’s what i’ve always done.

as SZA says & i sing along

we buss it wide open for the right one.


abstract: couple of months ago, a friend deduced i must be monogamous by the way i spoke about relationships. he was correct but the convo got me thinking; why do i believe what i do? how does that make me feel? is something even worth holding on to? modesty verses was written as response. it’s a playful yet vulnerable interrogation of how modesty has affected my life & luvvvvin. i hope ya enjoy reading it & that it resonates in some way.

Words by lyds 

Artwork by Basma Ramsis

bio: lyds is a poet & writer who predicates her work on radical honesty, vulnerability and self expression. she’s always performing somewhere in LDN & is currently studying a masters in black british writing at goldsmiths, university of london.


twitter/instagram: @lydiahenriettao


About Basma: Bachelor degree in CERAMIC -SCULPTURE. Master student in DIGITAL ART. Freelancer in graphic design and movie production and post production. Very interested in the art movements that aim for positive change. Also into event planning and its organisation. She is currently training in an art residency on the global operation of the association. Learning the pre-production, production, post production work and procedures from A to Z.


Basma read lyds’ poem and was inspired to create two pieces on canvas. They are a reflection on her personal engagement with similar thoughts and feelings.

Posted by:KANDAKA

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