Charisma by (2 Stories)

Prompted By Gender Roles

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Charisma, charm,

difference between charm and charisma.

the same but for a few letters.

Different in feeling, sound, substance.

Charisma, three-syllable bold, charm is soft.

Charisma, a divinely conferred gift or power.

Charm, the ability to please or attract.


You don’t hear one called charming anymore.

After the 60’s, when social revolution spread,

the word fell out of fashion. Even fashion,

for a while, fell out of fashion. Before that time,

was the era when men had charisma, women

had charm. Charisma bestows power, influence.

Charm attracts, enchants. You feel tempting

but trivial, like a trinket dangling from a chain.

Profile photo of pearlpoet pearlpoet

Characterizations: well written


  1. John Zussman says:

    What a graceful, telling poem! You encapsulate the pitfalls of traditional roles in the slight yet crucial difference between two similar words. I love the last line, pregnant with import. Welcome to Retrospect.

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    Fascinating. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Kit says:

    I never thought about the difference, but you are so right. And expressing it poetically really brings that home. I hope these days both men and women can be thought of as having charisma.

  4. Suzy says:

    I like this poem a lot, it says so much in just two stanzas. Never thought about charm and charisma being so similar and yet so different. Thanks for posting, and welcome to Retrospect!

  5. What a great representation of gender expectations: charisma and charm. Together they could be anointed as obsolete icons, joined in matrimony on a wedding cake. Very nice. Tks!

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