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 ...



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.

Alabaster Queen

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
And cascades
About her
And woven flowers
At her feet.


I've come to listen to
A talk
About the menopause
At work.
It's dead embarrassing
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 
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.

What?  My employer has a responsibility ...
To do the right thing?

"Reasonable adjustments"
What are they?

A Menopause Policy!

And so I ... 
What was that you said?
I need to take responsibility too?
"Manage my menopause?

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
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,
She will
Preserve them 
On her canvas cloth.

The ancient practice of observation

And over time
There will be changes
Stranger ways
Days of same
And difference.

Behind your eyes
And breathe through
The barrier
Your thoughts and you.

And see
With your heart
With compassion.
Do not see
What you think you see.

Your spirit
Without judgement
From you or another
Person, place, time.

The truth
The breadth
The depth
Of being.

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