Period Piece (The Rag Song)

Music & Lyrics: Marie-Lynn Hammond

Well we all know our poor planet is quite close to disappearing
under tons and tons of poisonous manmade shit
and ecologists are daily trying hard to find solutions
so together we can do our best to rescue it
we’ve got ozone holes and PCB’s, acid rain and DDT,
toxins and dioxins and nuclear waste
and now some clever soul’s discovered yet another problem
though some think that to discuss it is in quite poor taste

But that has never stopped me in the past so I will tell you
that it has to do with women and our physiology
and those tampons, pads, and plastic applicators that are
monthly blocking sewers, clogging landfills and polluting the sea.
so now someone has invented a reusable pad made of
cotton rather like the rags of grandmother’s day
and I guess you stash the soiled ones in a bag inside your purse
until you’re home and have a chance to rinse the bloody mess away

Well my head says, oh how noble but my gut says not another thing
I’m supposed to find the time for when my time’s in short supply
I mean I compost, I recycle, I keep worms that eat my garbage
I sew little bags to carry home the bulk foods that I buy
and we women still do more than half the housework not to mention
stuff engendered by our gender that you men will never know
like morning sickness, thirty-hour labours, hysterectomies,
caesarians and killer cramps and heavy monthly flow

But we really must do something ’cuz we’re talking those big E words
now Environment, Ecology, Earth in her time of need
besides giving up disposables can only bring relief, I mean
it’s got so I feel guilty every single time I bleed
yes I’m ready for reusable pads on one condition –
that the labour be divided fairly and therefore since
we women have no choice about it, let us bleed and suffer –
then we’ll hand the whole mess over and we’ll let the menfolk rinse!

[Spoken] Ah, a great idea, I can hear you women thinking —but what if you don’t happen to have a male companion? or what if you don’t want a male companion?

Well, I think this could be organized like a giant diaper service, free of course, so every guy would have to do a voluntary monthly shift, down at the old reusable sanitary napkin plant. I can see it now—vast white rooms, filled with steam, and dozens, no, hundreds of men, stripped to the waist, their bodies gleaming with sweat, hunched over the great vats of boiling water, those muscles at the base of their necks standing out like little golf balls as they rub and scrub and rinse and watch in awe as rivers of water flow away from them, red as roses, red as fire, red as the passion and pain and torture we women have suffered for thousands of years!

Finally men will begin to understand what it means to be a woman! Yes, it would be the dawning of a new age of empathy and harmony between the sexes.. So once again I say—

since we women have no choice about it
let us bleed and suffer
then we’ll hand the whole mess over and we’ll let the menfolk rinse
yes we’ll hand the whole mess over, hand the whole mess over,
hand the whole mess over and we’ll let the menfolk rinse!