No 21. Poems for International Women’s Day 2015

Mission Impossible.

The rain chased down gulleys

Unable to stay in the claggy  verges.

By now  the work men had left for home

The last echoes of their hammer bangs

Took flight across the Hofn hills.

It was a poor day.

Over at Belle View Ginny  in her renovated barn

was sitting cross-legged

up by the timber ladder

with the circular First Nations rug over her feet

sifting through dust for past achievements

to make a case for celebration

as March 8th approached


A smiling Maya Angelou matronly sat

at the bottom of Ginny’s  Victorian chest.

There were some rusted Women’s badges.

on top of old Spare Rib magazines.

What she found had to be relevant

for wives in houses and daughters

whose men were down at the fishing,

who still spoke of men’s work and

ordered only bath salts from the Avon catalogues.

None needed childcare, nor an equal wage.

Ginny thought maybe they had dreams

and when they prayed for the boat’s safe return

perhaps they had hopes for their bairns’ lives

hopes they’d never voice.


The postman’s van crunched on the gravel.

He threw something down on the welcome mat

and shouted up

From  London.

In a minute Ginny could count out the purple and green flags

and try a bunting kit.

She let down the chest lid.

It wasn’t her petticoat showing that made her blush

and exhale Charlie’s Dead

It was her more than a puckle

of arrogance.


No. 20 of 27 Poems for International Women’s Day 2015

 Not Letting Go

I am spread-eagled on my settee

“A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing”

Beside me

Reminds me

I had a structure to this day off.

I am though wide legs awake

On my back


My face is unmade up.

There is no eyeliner gelling on my lids

Although I do love the application,

The roll over the bump

The slither sliding by my lashes

Defining and changing me

From wan Celtic Woman to notice me Monroe

The experimenting, the transforming

The routine. The hiding other me

The wannabe fit in, the bear to be seen

But today I am indoors me

My deep Shakespearian soliloquy

Of a reflective question is

Do I like it?

Do I like my naked face?


Only if I think

For one nanosecond

I’m on Belle front cover

Being Woman Celebrated

Au naturelle.

Do I like legs wide open?

Vagina whiffing

Moon Prince beckoning

Godward’s girls on couches

Lady Mucking?



My mother instructed

Close those legs

Douche that hole

Talc that thing

Knees pressed in together

You’re a Woman now.


Feminist Stoke Newington – Or Is It? Special IWD 2015 Guided Walk

so much learning to do. 1) Get her name pronunciation right. 2) wonder why a walk is £8 when it could be donation. That cost shoves away many women. 3) How did the daughter of an handkerchief weaver afford to open a school when she was 25 unless her daddy were a factory owner and we talking  silk hankies or he were a slaver?  Sacre bleu. 4) celebrate that at least the title is “IWD 2015” (looks like my title. See my poems on this site) and it’s not about cosmetics and Zumba and it’s all on the correct day. And mind my granddaddy’s grave in the bush there.

Hackney Tours: #HackneyDifferent since 2009


Equality for IWD 2015? A guided tour of radical Stoke Newington history. Is it Feminist? is it just about equal rights?

Special fundraising edition of the ‘Feminist (Or Is It?) Stoke Newington‘ guided walk (see here for usual walk): Sun 8th March; meet 10.30am main gates of Abney Park cemetery N16; cost £8 with 50% of proceeds to fund for Mary  Wollstonecraft statue in Newington Green (see here); just turn up. Features the stunning Abney Park cemetery (Hackney Tours video here) and the campaign for more recognition for Mary Wollstonecraft. Come and get involved!

Read about how Hackney Tours is involved in the contemporary campaign for equal rights and how it liberates both men and women here.

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No. 19 Poems for International Women’s Day

 Keeping kitchen

Karishma pushed the stray hair from her forehead

Some white flour puffed by her nose

And she looked through the window.


It wasn’t easy

By the age of eight my girls could do everything in the kitchen

They could chop coriander so small

like a machine

Nothing was wasted.

They learnt to freeze dough ready for next night’s dinner.

Lemons they squeezed by hand

Their grandmother helped them roll perfect circles

like medallions

better than Patak.

They were eight.

PB has a machine for everything now

and an au pair

and Paracetamol for constant headaches.

Deep has overstuffed her useless husband

He takes her nowhere

She collects dolls. Dolls we never needed before.

Myself, my kitchen is so clean I can’t create.


She turned to roll the dough

and spritz the oil

and clean the top

A tear sizzled in the heated pan.




No.16 Poems for International Women’s Day 2015

 The Petition

Bride-price me

for my skin is glowing

I shine in the sun

of the Harmatten noon

like the Palm Oil Maiden

who melts

to a pool of scented balm

                                                              Palm Oil Daughter

Bargain for me

for my thighs are caressed

and plumped

by overeating of pounded yam

and odoriferous stew

Slip your hands down the round

of my shoulders and neck

I was spread over

with cocoa butter

and softened to touch

These arms you examine

are firm

from river side slapping

on washday lines

See my long strong fingers

how they twist and twine

my coil-sprung hair

Choose me

for I can measure in my hand

the amount of salt

for the meat

and the strength of the chilli pepper

by its heat

how to sit in silence

when the man eats

and the crickets sing

My skin is deep brown

in the yellow cling

of the kerosene light

Take me

for I smile

closed mouth in the night.