For Woman, in her weakness, is yet the strongest force upon the earth. She is the helm of all things human; she comes in many shapes and knocks at many doors; she is quick and patient, and her passion is not ungovernable like that of man, but as a gentle steed that she can guide e’en where she will, and as occasion offers can now bit up and now give rein. She has a captain’s eye, and stout must be that fortress of the heart in which she finds no place of vantage. Does thy blood beat fast in youth? She will outrun it, nor will her kisses tire. Art thou set toward ambition? She will unlock thy inner heart, and show thee roads that lead to glory. Art thou worn and weary? She has comfort in her breast. Art thou fallen? She can lift thee up, and to the illusion of thy sense gild defeat with triumph. Ay, Harmachis, she can do these things, for Nature ever fights upon her side; and while she does them she can deceive and shape a secret end in which thou hast no part. And thus Woman rules the world. For her are wars; for her men spend their strength in gathering gains; for her they do well and ill, and seek for greatness, to find oblivion. But still she sits like yonder Sphinx, and smiles; and no man has ever read all the riddle of her smile, or known all the mystery of her heart. Mock not! mock not! Harmachis; for he must be great indeed who can defy the power of Woman, which, pressing round him like the invisible air, is often strongest when the senses least discover it.

H. Rider Haggard
Cleopatra

made of flesh and blood

December 28, 2019

The summer she was fifteen, Melanie discovered she was made of flesh and blood. O, my America, my new found land. She embarked on a tranced voyage, exploring the whole of herself, clambering her own mountain ranges, penetrating the moist richness of her secret valleys,  a physiological Cortez,  da Gama or Mungo Park.  For hours she stared at herself, naked, in the mirror of her wardrobe; she would follow with her finger the elegant structure of her rib-cage, where the heart fluttered under the flesh like a bird under a blanket, and she would draw down the long line from breast-bone to navel (which was a mysterious cavern or grotto), and she would rasp her palms against her bud-wing shoulderblades. And then she would writhe about, clasping herself, laughing, sometimes doing cartwheels and handstands out of sheer exhilaration at the supple surprise of herself now she was no longer a little girl.

Angela Carter
The Magic Toyshop

you’re what I need

November 10, 2019

I’m saying that I’m a moody, insecure, narrow-minded, jealous, borderline homicidal bitch, and I want you to promise me that you’re okay with that, because it’s who I am, and you’re what I need.

Jeaniene Frost
Halfway to the Grave

ancient powers

October 27, 2019

As a child, playing, I imagined I had super powers. Then one day, suddenly, unexpectedly, I realised that such powers were ‘real’! And I had them!

It was a truly amazing moment!

This realisation had grown from distant, long buried memories of ancient powers that all women possessed. Something biological, I felt it to be. Something passed from generation to generation, mother to daughter. Now, this discovery of an ancient truth transformed my life. One day I was a child at play, the next a Shaman-ess with growing awareness of my inherent power.

P

Becoming a Witch

October 26, 2019

Fuck your karma, I don’t need it! I’ve descended the dark chasm of self, glimpsed the chaos of ego, and returned to the light. I’ve reached for the moon and stars, whispering the secret words I learned from them. My chaos is now controlled. My self is a spear of pure power. I own the darkness. I’ve become the dream you never want to meet, and I wear each of my scars like badges of honour. Yes, I have changed – mutated, if you will. Become a living, breathing manifestation of the Goddess. Hathor, Isis, Aphrodite are one with me. I am volcanic. I have power and I’m not afraid to use that power – so beware. For I am the fertility of the Earth and of the Goddess, celebrating the cycles of seasons. I am Alpha and Omega: woman and witch, overflowing with holy rage. So, again, Beware, I say.

P

Masturbation

September 1, 2019


(A woman without man is like a fish without a bicycle.)

A woman can’t live without a man?
Ha, what logic, the logic of a ghost! Bah bah!
Throw the ball,
Don’t let orchids embrace you at all,
Don’t go to poisonous ant bushes.
Push yourself into sensuousness.
You have the bow, you have the arrow.
Do it girl, masturbate.

Taslima Nasrin

 

The body needs stimulation and the mind poetry. Masturbation offers a safe way to explore our bodies and encourages blood flow. The dopamine release makes us feel better and relieves tension.

Poetry and masturbation are about self-discovery. It’s why they go so well together. We can’t limit our self-awareness to fleeting thoughts. We have physical senses that are waiting to be used on ourselves, boys & girls, for our pleasure and for our poetry…

Anna Liffey

August 25, 2019

Life, the story goes,
Was the daughter of Canaan,
And came to the plain of Kildare.
She loved the flat-lands and the ditches
And the unreachable horizon.
She asked that it be named for her.
The river took its name from the land.
The land took its name from a woman.

A woman in the doorway of a house.
A river in the city of her birth.

There, in the hills above my house,
The river Liffey rises, is a source.
It rises in rush and ling heather and
Black peat and bracken and strengthens
To claim the city it narrated.
Swans. Steep falls. Small towns.
The smudged air and bridges of Dublin.

Dusk is coming.
Rain is moving east from the hills.

If I could see myself
I would see
A woman in a doorway
Wearing the colours that go with red hair.
Although my hair is no longer red.

I praise
The gifts of the river.
Its shiftless and glittering
Re-telling of a city,
Its clarity as it flows,
In the company of runt flowers and herons,
Around a bend at Islandbridge
And under thirteen bridges to the sea.
Its patience at twilight –
Swans nesting by it,
Neon wincing into it.

Maker of
Places, remembrances,
Narrate such fragments for me:

One body. One spirit.
One place. One name.
The city where I was born.
The river that runs through it.
The nation which eludes me.

Fractions of a life
It has taken me a lifetime
To claim.

I came here in a cold winter.

I had no children. No country.
I did not know the name for my own life.

My country took hold of me.
My children were born.

I walked out in a summer dusk
To call them in.

One name. Then the other one.
The beautiful vowels sounding out home.

Make of a nation what you will
Make of the past
What you can –

There is now
A woman in a doorway.

It has taken me
All my strength to do this.

Becoming a figure in a poem.

Usurping a name and a theme.

A river is not a woman.
Although the names it finds,
The history it makes
And suffers –
The Viking blades beside it,
The muskets of the Redcoats,
The flames of the Four Courts
Blazing into it
Are a sign.
Any more than
A woman is a river,
Although the course it takes,
Through swans courting and distraught willows,
Its patience
Which is also its powerlessness,
From Callary to Islandbridge,
And from source to mouth,
Is another one.
And in my late forties
Past believing
Love will heal
What language fails to know
And needs to say –
What the body means –
I take this sign
And I make this mark:
A woman in the doorway of her house.
A river in the city of her birth.
The truth of a suffered life.
The mouth of it.

The seabirds come in from the coast
The city wisdom is they bring rain.
I watch them from my doorway.
I see them as arguments of origin –
Leaving a harsh force on the horizon
Only to find it
Slanting and falling elswhere.

Which water –
The one they live or the one they pronounce –
Remembers the other?

I am sure
The body of an ageing woman
Is a memory
And to find a language for it
Is as hard
As weeping and requiring
These birds to cry out as if they could
Recognize their element
Remembered and diminished in
A single tear.

An ageing woman
Finds no shelter in language.
She finds instead
Single words she once loved
Such as ‘summer’ and ‘yellow’
And ‘sexual’ and ‘ready’
Have suddenly become dwellings
For someone else –
Rooms and a roof under which someone else
Is welcome, not her. Tell me,
Anna Liffey,
Spirit of water,
Spirit of place,
How is it on this
Rainy Autumn night
As the Irish sea takes
The names you made, the names
You bestowed, and gives you back
Only wordlessness?

Autumn rain is
Scattering and dripping
From car-ports
And clipped hedges.
The gutters are full.

When I came here
I had neither
Children nor country.
The trees were arms.
The hills for dreams.

I was free
To imagine a spirit
In the blues and greens,
The hills and fogs
Of a small city.

My children were born.
My country took hold of me.
A vision in a brick house.
Is it only love
That makes a place?

I feel it change.
My children are
Growing up, getting older.
My country holds on
To its own pain.

I turn off
The harsh yellow
Porch light and
Stand in the hall.
Where is home now?

Follow the rain
Out to the Dublin hills.
Let it become the river.
Let the spirit of place be
A lost soul again.

In the end
It will not matter
That I was a woman. I am sure of it.
The body is a source. Nothing more.
There is a time for it. There is a certainty
About the way it seeks its own dissolution.
Consider rivers.
They are always en route to
Their own nothingness. From the first moment
They are going home. And so
When language cannot do it for us,
Cannot make us know love will not diminish us,
There are these phrases
Of the ocean
To console us.
Particular and unafraid of their completion.
In the end
Everything that burdened and distinguished me
Will be lost in this:
I was a voice.

Evan Bolan

female anger

April 9, 2019

The phenomenon of female anger has often been turned against itself, the figure of the angry woman reframed as threat […] She conjures a lineage of threatening archetypes: the harpy and her talons, the witch and her spells, the medusa and her writhing locks. The notion that female anger is unnatural or destructive is learned young; children report perceiving displays of anger as more acceptable from boys than from girls.

Leslie Jamison

I Used to Insist I Didn’t Get Angry. Not Anymore.

The Crows

April 6, 2019

The woman who has grown old
And knows desire must die,
Yet turns to love again,
Hears the crows’ cry.

She is a stem long hardened,
A weed that no scythe mows.
The heart’s laughter will be to her
The crying of the crows,

Who slide in the air with the same voice
Over what yields not, and what yields,
Alike in spring, and when there is only bitter
Winter-burning in the fields.

Louise Bogan