A poem to mark International Women's Day by Rachel McGladdery

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On International Women’s Day we at Write Out Loud spotted a poem that we wanted to share with you. It’s by Rachel McGladdery, a former Write Out Loud blogger, who wrote it on the day on her phone “while having a very early coffee and fag”. 

‘Beware’ talks of “us older women” being expected to “smile / To manage / To plod on / To know in our bones / How to time a dinner / When to put the spuds on …  Know that we hang on by an onion paper piece of nerve, a Cornish wafer flake of nail skin / And all of it is oh so tempting to throw up in the air / Shout fuck it to the littered yard …”

Rachel McGladdery is a poet living and writing in rural Lancashire with her children and cats and (currently) windowsills full of hopeful seedlings. She is published both online, most recently at the Sunday Tribune and on paper, though is yet to publish a single authored collection. You can find her on Twitter @raichyrae and on Write Out Loud. She is also "news avoiding until all this blows over". 

 

BEWARE

by Rachel McGladdery

 

Us older women who

Rise at five

Get a start on the day

Steal a March on it

Creep around when it’s quiet

Have a brew and a smoke 

Before we’re expected

To smile

To manage

To plod on

To know in our bones

How to time a dinner

When to put the spuds on

How to fold a sheet

It’s fear that drives

Should we find ourselves marooned

Forgetting the word for envelope or sock

Or walking out of Sainsburys with a pack of mince we haven’t paid for 

Or the pile of unpaid bills we filed beneath the settee are discovered

Or that someone we should love we in fact hate

Know that we hang on by an onion paper piece of nerve, a Cornish wafer flake of nail skin

And all of it is oh so tempting to throw up in the air

Shout fuck it to the littered yard

To lob stale scones and stamp them in the carpet take the bottle from the shelf and pour the day away into a glass and swallow all our duties til they’re gone and run away inside our heads to where we’re 8 or 9 and wearing sun-warmed shorts and don't mind nettle stings and trail giggles like a stream of bubbles catching sunlight in a field of tall grown grass down by a brook

Take care

You’ve no idea of the power we wield in ironed shirts and well-cooked meat and knowing which milk is the next to use and where the stopcock is and what that standing order’s for and which mushroom you can eat ...

 

Thanks, Rachel, for allowing us to share this poem! 

◄ Jumping into a Waterfall: Anna Percy, Flapjack

Footsteps of Ted Hughes: trails map traces poet's Yorkshire roots ►

Comments

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Julian (Admin)

Wed 10th Mar 2021 11:34

Brilliant poem, Rachel. Well done, you.

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