Poems inspired by menopause and midlife. An expression of feelings, thoughts, emotions, reflections and opportunities.©HOTwords by Jane Midwinter
The Burning Issue
It ignites And relights. Spits and cracks, Sparks and falls, Like fireflies It lights up the night. Transient flashes of Haphazard momentary memories - Embers of the past. This fire of Curious attention To fleeting visions Is ablaze and calling ... Notice.
To lie in the bath Letting the gentle pressure Of the water Play on my skin. To shake my hair As I walk by the sea And invite its salty stickiness To kiss my head. To linger in the arms of The one I love And feel his warmth, His breath. To stroke soft faces Of my children And children's children. Or on a palette Create colours For the landscape, And flowers, And people. To move to the piano And enjoy the senses Of the smooth keys Beneath my fingertips. Or to catch the words That fill my mind And place them On a page. To walk through the garden And listen to the wind Through the trees, The gentle clucking of the hens, The rumble of the traffic in the distance? To look into that distance. Just look And notice. To lie in bed, With windows wide A cool sea-breeze stroking my face, And arms, And listen To waves breaking On tumbling stones.
Sagging cloth, swathed About her hips, Arms folded Beneath her breasts Of milky alabaster. Once maiden, She now rests In her stillness And stands apart. Upon her head Lies heavy still The ones she bore. She holds them up, And glances down With heavy brow And shoulders stooped. Once rope-like hair Loosens And cascades About her Lightly. And woven flowers Fall At her feet.
I've come to listen to A talk About the menopause At work. It's dead embarrassing And The only reason I've come, Is because You get a goodie-bag ... I'm sitting at the back And reading my emails And not looking At my colleagues Who are all Glued to the Powerpoint, And the woman At the front Who I'm trying Not to look at ... Hot flushes! - yes, obs! Doesn't everyone get them at my age? Just put up with it don't you? Fatigue? Of course , I'm 50 and ... In THIS job Who wouldn't be tired - Everyone's tired ... ... Aren't they? Itchy skin? Oh! Irritable? - well yes, who isn't ... These days? Aching joints? Oh! Huh, insomnia!!! Well - I know I just can't sleep! Maybe I should listen to this woman After all. 'Cos I took time off recently - I couldn't wake up In the morning Last Wednesday. And the Thursday before ... ... oh and two weeks ago I took two days off then too - I'm just so tired. So - there are choices She's saying? I can get help She's telling us. Speak to my GP? Tried that ... Oh - ok! So that's what I need to say. Cheers! What? My employer has a responsibility ... To do the right thing? "Reasonable adjustments" What are they? A Menopause Policy! Blimey! And so I ... What was that you said? I need to take responsibility too? "Manage my menopause? Hmmm! Maybe I'm perimenopausal then? Never heard of that before. So I'm not going mad after all, Or just getting old ... When I forget A meeting A deadline A course I've put my phone away now and I'm listening. And ... it's worth it 'cos I'll get a goodie-bag at the end anyway!
Woman in a striped dress
She looks into the distance Her grey hair - A waterfall Cascading over her back. Her mouth turns down at the corners, Not in anger, But in focussing On her walk through ferns She gathers for her paintings. Her earrings - giant, white, metal Dangle and clang From her earlobes Against her neck Like heavy bags of shopping. And as she stoops, The sun Lights the side of her face Like a crescent moon. Her dark eyes, beneath heavy lids Search. She chooses flowers and ferns Lifts them to her breast Like babies before. Her striped dress, Wide in rainbow colours Lies stiff against her body And bares her shoulders And strong arms. Her suprasternal notch Spills a pool of sweat As she bends again And collects. When satisfied And with laden arms, She will return. With paint and brush, Carefully, She will Preserve them On her canvas cloth.
The ancient practice of observation
Watch And over time There will be changes Stranger ways Days of same And difference. Observe Behind your eyes And breathe through The barrier Between Your thoughts and you. Look And see With your heart With compassion. Do not see What you think you see. Notice Clearly Your spirit Without judgement From you or another Person, place, time. Discover Now The truth The breadth The depth Of being.