We’re looking at people poems today, and most of those I have to hand seem to be about women. Some are funny, while one, from Rona Fitzgerald, is very tragic. Sarah L Dixon gives us  one in the voice of a small boy, indeed in the speech of a small boy (she has a series of these). And there’s a wedding poem, not quite what you might expect, either the wedding or the poem, from Barry Fentiman-Hall.

A ghazal follows, from J C Elkin of North America,  with its very effective rhyme system and its subject of a middle-aged woman, for whom not too much sympathy is offered.

First, Wullie Purcell’s Scots poem Wicca Woman, a neat description of an indivudual and a type. In fact the poem becomes Scots half way through, and it is for the reader to work out why.

Thanks to all these poets, and to the others who have sent in poems which are waiting on file to make my future tasks more pleasant. To send poems, email to sally evans 35 at gmail dot com, giving publication details, which should be from 3 years ago or earlier.

And wouldn’t it be nice to see some more poems about men?


Wullie Purcell
Wicca Woman

She’s a slight demure woman
with a smirkle
permanently etched
The Wicca Woman

At a glance
a genteel
mid to upper classlady
Dressed neatly
The Wicca Woman

But beware
Be nice
Cross her not
The Wicca Woman

If her tongue changes
tae auld words
be canny
gie her room
The Wicca Wumman

An if her een hae a glint
En she luks et ye sqint
Haud yer wheesht
Luk onywhaur
But no directly et hur
The Wicca Wumman

Cos she’s got powrs
abune yer knowin
Afore ye ken it
ye’re a puddock
or hae plooks
Or worse
Sae dinna cross
The Wicca Wumman

Be feart

Be verra feart
O the Wicca Wummin

from Looking Through Glasses, Read Raw Press 2009



Rona F|itzgerald

From 1966 until 1972, I cycled to school in Drumcondra passing the High Park laundry. In 1993 the nuns who had run the laundry applied for a licence to exhume 133 women who died while incarcerated there, as they wished to sell the site to a developer. They could provide death certificates for only 75 women. During the exhumation the remains of another 22 nameless Magdalene women were unearthed.

When I allow myself, I can still feel
A tiny hand, fingers entwined in mine.
I never wanted to let go.

But what life could I have given her
enclosed in a laundry where nobody
will use my real name.

There is no saint called Maebh,
we will call you Mary after
the mother of God

First published in Shorelines, 2012. New Voices Press

Frank Exchange of Views

Sarah L. Dixon
Frank Exchange of Views

You not Big Boy
You not lady

You not woman
You Mummy

My Batman
My Big Boy
My Darth Vader
My beautiful

My the boss
You no the boss
You Mummy

Stand back
My shut it!

My want cuddle
My the boy
My the winner
My doing a wee in the bath

You put pretty on ears
You look like lady
You not lady
You Mummy

from York Mix 2013



Barry Fentiman-Hall
Stuff The Wedding

We had a big day off when I was small
Someone wrote “stuff the wedding” on a car park wall

 It was about a girl with big bloomers and a see through skirt
And a bloke with big ears and a nicely pressed shirt

As she walked up the aisle in a crumpled dress
We sat in the garden and had egg and cress

They duly produced an heir and a spare
Then she sat on her own and he lost his hair

They both got around and the babies got bigger
The spare turned out ginger and we tried not to snigger

It ended in phone taps and headlines and divorce
So she went to the shops and he got on his horse

Start the car Henri before we’re missed
As you wish your highness but I’m far too pissed

Run rabbit run, the Di is cast
As a reporters car couldn’t get past

Crocodile red tops cry their princess is gone
Dupes at the gates and Elton fucking John

All they give is a circus and they take our bread
And demand our obedience when they die or get wed

Here we go again wearing a familiar ring
Now it’s my turn to write “stuff the wedding”

first appeared in City Without A Head (Wordsmithery 2013)



J C Elkin
The Change

A goodwife at mid-life does strange things she would never have dared before –
selfish things, healthy things – sharing gripes never aired before.

More frank than polite for once in her life, she’s apt to cause offense
when her candor singes feelings that she might have spared before.

Known as an anchor, she’s nothing to fear by rocking the boat just a little.
She is who she is –confident, secure –spilling secrets not shared before.

The faster youth slips, the tighter she grips with diet, yoga, makeup
and clothes that flatter by showing skin she’d not have bared before.

Determined now to make up for lost time, she changes opinions grown stale,
and dares to give voice to future hopes that had nagged, undeclared, before.

Goodbye time-sink clubs, PTA and church dinners. She has other fish to fry.
Fresh faces aplenty can head up committees that she would have chaired before.

With renewed energy she tackles old dreams that she had once thought too daunting, challenged by age to pave time’s road where she’d felt unprepared before.

And as she roars off in her little sports car, Jane Eyre changes stations.
Life’s new sound track, maybe reggae or rap, blasts songs never blared before.

The Change (Kestrel, Fall 2011)