I come from…

(after Bread and Butter by Jo Roach)

I come from women once called Smith,
Square Crisps, Findus Crispy Pancakes,
Sundays at my auntie’s pub;
All the grown ups smoking ciggies
While we play darts with crisps and Coke.

I come from making dens and breaking legs,
From watching El Cid with my dad
To sudden splits and postcode changes,
Free places at the private school –
I’m sorry, we don’t have a pool.

I come from hamsters, rabbits, Sam the dog,
He-Man, Rainbow, penny sweets;
I come from Amstrad, Sinclair, Commodore;
Feed the world and the Costa del Sol,
Chernobyl and the Berlin Wall.

I come from women left who won’t remarry,
Investing all their love in two small girls.

(Lyndi Smith, May 2011)

To be a woman

To be a woman
Is pain
And beauty.

To be a woman is to stand tall
And stay as soft as the breeze.

To be a woman
Is to love the tender touch
And sometimes dig your high heels in and say, “No More”
And sometimes spy the thing you want and draw it to you;
At others, lose the lead of life and laugh
And change your mind,
And change your mood,
As often as you change your dress.

To be a woman is to care for all of life
And for yourself no less.

To be a woman is to be the moon,
Illuminate the darkest night
And sometimes slip behind a cloud.

To be a woman is to sing the song of life
And sing it proud!

To be a woman is to play and dream and tease
And sometimes just to rest and be at ease
And sometimes wait,
Without the need to act,
And give another space to share their woes
And sometimes use no words
And soothe the world with biscuits, tea and hugs.

To be a woman means you get to eat
This chocolate cake
And maybe that one too.

To be a woman is to run through fields of grass
And giggle,
As you tumble on your arse.

To be a woman not by anyone’s decree
But by your own truth
Learn what women be.

To be a woman
Makes you a goddess
And warrior and mother and princess.

You women, now I give this verse to you,
For only you can tell if this be true.

(Lyndi Smith, April 2011)

Listen to an mp3 version of me reading To be a woman