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Regular news and insight from our many poets, writers, educators and facilitators

08 March 2022

Posted by Tabby Hayward


14 attending

Happy International Women's Day!

To celebrate, this week we started off by thinking of women in our lives who we are grateful for and why - from family members and friends, to artists, writers, politicians, comedians, activists, scientists, musicians and sports people. Examples ranged from Dolly Parton to Marie Curie, Miranda Hart and Clara Schumann! 

Next, we read Praise Song for my Mother, by Grace Nichols. Inspired by this, we wrote our own praise songs for women we admire.

Next, we read a range of powerful poems by female poets about a wide range of female experiences - some inspiring, some difficult or troubling. We looked at A Woman Speaks by Audre Lord, Her Kind by Anne Sexton, We Sinful Women by Kishwar Naheed, and Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Inspired by these, we wrote a poem/story inspired by the work women and girls
are doing/have done historically – celebrating, but also looking at the
hardships and difficulties. Some wrote from the point of view of a woman in history/now doing this work, while others thought about ways there might be overlaps between these women and themselves (in the style of Her Kind by Anne Sexton) and others wrote from a third person perspective, imagining what it might have been like.

Here is a powerful, allegorical poem from the group on this theme - to be shared anonymously:

I kick the grass
Driving my heel into the ground, twisting my foot
And digging up the dirt
I kick the turf

 This grass belongs to a hill
Which belongs to a group that… for a long time now
Have not considered more than the walls of their own house
And the torn papers they claim gives them jurisdiction over
this field

Which for a long time I have needed to travel across
There’s a river on the other side that holds fresh water
Some of us need it to live

There’s those on the other side of this field, who for a
while now
Have needed the orchard held on this side
With apples I have found quite bitter
But some of them need these to live
I don’t

 The world’s much larger of course
Rivers and ponds and oceans and seas
Apples and pears and oranges and raspberries
Oh and of course there’s more than fruit and water
Bread and rice and more
Which walls have been built around, not by those who eat
bread or rice
Or those who fetch from ponds or the sea

 But by the owners of this field
Which… focusing once again on
I am forbidden to cross
And find fresh water

I kick the grass and turf.


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