Fangirl poetry inspired by real life heroine – Dr Bettany Hughes. Her documentary – When God was a Girl is inspirational. A fascinating and in-depth flip of history and how the past has shaped who we are and why many of the issues we live today stem from our removal from the history books.
Please follow this link and watch all three. They really are fascinating for all genders.
Finding these documentaries as well as the brilliant The Ascent of Woman on Netflix (now on YouTube) by Dr Amanda Foreman, have helped me find my way with my own historical fiction – The Warder’s Cottage. You know when you get that niggling feeling you’re onto something, but are not yet at the stage to see it clearly? Not quite ready for the answers to be revealed? That was my moment at the beginning of last year when I quit drinking and all these fantastic doco’s, books, podcasts etc came pouring our of nowhere onto my radar. The most recent was Witches: A Century of Murder.
One led to the other and suddenly everything I’ve ever found interesting in history all made sense! Epiphany plus! Threads I’ve been looking for – for yonks had me totally geeking out over women in history.
So I wrote a poem – When We Walked As One, and entered it into a few competitions and predictably it bombed. Wayyyy to wordy and far too emotional and probably less a poem than a creatively worded rant ensemble. It read as it sounded – like it was written by teenage me. It’s a worthy topic for a long winded poem – based on the Goddesses and attempted removal of women and feminine deities across history.
I read the poem out to my Writers Group peers with positive feedback. The first comment was – “Whoa. That’s heavy,” and I must admit I felt deflated. But these are women and writers I trust, so every bit of critique is valuable.
The greatest thing about this group is after a year of attending the feedback is still brilliant. I’ve been told nothing I haven’t learned and grown from. This fellow writer also said because the first 2 poems (I read out) were light and fun – When We Walked As One was… well, heavy.
It is damned heavy and also a reflection on the way I approach things – full fricken force or nothing. I questioned my overdoing-everything habit and the self-doubt flood gates opened. Thankfully they quickly shut back up.
This poem was unique. Like tripping without the drugs. It felt like I wasn’t the one writing things, like the words were someone else’s thoughts. It felt more like an obligation than art.
The problem is there is no way for this particular topic not be heavy – especially when you condense nearly 12000 years, 2 documentaries at 3/4 episodes a piece and a life time of reflection on being female – into a 50 lined poem. It’s going to be a head fCk.
Probably could have used some help from the Horrible Histories writers.
Ra, ra, Cleopatra!
Famous beauty coming at ya!
Ra ra, patra Cleo!
Guys all go gaga for me-o!
I am a leader
And a lady and a queen
Such a queen never been seen
I am a pharoah
Yet they’re-o meant to be guys
But I don’t care-o
I just wear-o beard disguise…
Maybe not in patra-Cleo’s case, however in this circumstance – heavy – is necessary and it comes back to the flaw of critiquing people you are acquainted with. There is a bias towards the writer and even the bias is usually biased. These fellow writers are people I admire, respect and enjoy – but what is heavy for some, may resonate with a thousand others, so I’m running with the latter.
I look forward to more feedback, but stand by the intensity I filtered into this particular piece of work – a subject we should all investigate a bit deeper. If you can watch the doco’s mentioned above. Amazing.
As for the poem – a lot of tweaking, chopping and brutal fine tuning and a new, super subtle title. Voila –
Little Lady lump of rock
Deliciously plump and ripe.
Birther of panic
Seeder of spite
Abundant flesh and form.
Abandoned clay all-grainy.
pondering our loving return.
Finally found her
Thousands of years later
and she found us
Foreign, wanting, vainly disappointing.
Lo how they tried to rid you.
Cast away you.
Stamp tramp dust you.
Will you to rust.
Desecrated your pages.
Great houses relished, hypnotized the ages…
“To the hills we traipsed Triumphant. On high once she reigned. Crushed. Slain.
From cauldron. From broom. Tricksy heights of their womb. Blood lusted idols lapped sacrificial alters. In fields all were mixing, dancing, bleeding. Nakedly singing to the stars conjuring oceans afar. Shipwrecking royalty. Wretched femininity. Hail Daemonologie! Stamped it! Burned them out! Parchment and quill. Ravings to the ill. Nonsensical comforts. Wicked whisperings. Eradicated hearings extracted historically – deafened false prophecy. Howled at the crescent moon lest they claimed our sun! Yang seed, epigenetic creed, collectively aloof – New Global Truth. A thousand years prevailed shrouded and veiled. Backed ’em to the ground. Returned to earth. Buried prowess-powers-progress. Buried maiden-mother-crone nonsense. Buried midwifery-sorcery-healing. Fanciful inner-within-ness waning. Tore at it, tore it away. Deep rips ’til they surrendered. Submitted to submission. Dutiful handmaiden. Virtuous virgin turned from ambition to suspicion of own fruition. Wounds so deep, rotten. Who, why, what’s forgotten. No memory of the hour when she wielded power. When God was a Girl and they ruled the world.”
Oh, sorrowful betrayal! Our reflection.
’Twas you summonsed Cybele!
Magna Mater. Floating statue through the city.
Worshipping Her almighty to aid unquenchable warring.
Forged a million identical promises to funnel feminine glory.
Restore the balanced story – to all! With our aid!
But you buried her. You buried them all.
Buried Us ’til we forgot sacred divinity evermore.
Gaslit and smeared, narcissistically sneered.
Wiped truth and trace
Formed on mountains.
Love. Petals. Grace.
Clear hearts overflowing, sharing
All knowing. When Earth was a Woman.
When we thrived as One. More than a rib, or a putrid pun.
Magdalene a confidante? a twin soul! Woman more than vessel, whore, hole.
Barbaric little statues etched from forgotten scrolls. Manhandled by Victorian trolls.
Boxed deep. Cave bowels. Musty museums. Smothered. Silenced. Keeper of keys never was. Never were. Birthless. Hear now DNA churning. Lioness awakens recalling
Views from sandled soles, chains and choke holds. Publically leased, privately leashed. Fragmented. Broken. Warped. Awoken. Rising humbled, healing. Leading. Forgiving.
Breathing solution. Living revolution. Life and death giving. Little lady lump.
Ripe fertile rump. Porous prowess. Healing magnanimous. Nurturing.
Glory and form. Re-setter. New dawn… if you let her. Remember?
Before control and rule. Before concrete and fuel.
Before ignorance and ridicule
We. Your whole
when we walked as one