Sticks and Stones: International Women’s Day 2023

Happy International Women’s Day to you and to all the wonderful women in our lives: the ones who we learn from, dance with, who stand by us every day, whom we admire from afar and whose shoulders we cry on. 

This is a poem I wrote for IWD21. Word of warning about the profanity in it…

Sticks and Stones

They called her 

princess when she was young and malleable

good girl when she listened

babe when her breasts grew

bimbo when they made her small

They called her

liar when her story didn’t match theirs 

slut when she said yes

to enjoying sex before marriage

sweetie and love in the boardroom

although her knowledge rivalled theirs

angry woman when she spoke up for herself

They called her 

queen when she married

old maid if she stayed single

damaged goods when she’d suffered

bitch when she dared tell the truth

hag or old bat when she aged

They called her 

butch, belle, lipstick lesbian,

cock tease, cougar, superwoman,

dragon lady, gold digger, welfare queen

She wondered what titles they gave 

to those who didn’t have a womb

or who lived in binary code

The women she knew were

skin and bone and flesh

neither monsters nor saints 

nor fairytale witches

Women, singing small songs of hope

tenderly, fiercely, 

ascending into their power.

Tonight I’ll be reading Carol Ann Duffy’s poetry. She’s always a top pick on International Women’s Day. I just noticed our spaniel’s tail snuck into my photo!

Happy reading / watching / putting your feet up after a long day, 

Nillu xoxo

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