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