Invisible woman

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Photo at Pixabay

Allsorts came out of an exercise in thinking about an ‘Invisible Woman’ …

So they say

Men survey. Women are surveyed. Or so they say. Not Wilma, the Unseen Woman though. She is outside now, listening to workmen rebuilding the storm damaged wall, discussing imaginary conquests and what could be paraphrased as their bra sizes, simultaneously rolling stones into groups defined by their largeness. She goes downriver, where fishermen are comparing their catches both pescatorial and pectorial. She reaches the harbour. Here the ships are in and the sailors strutting. The talk is of salt, seaweed, barnacles and spray. Brandy and wild wide waves. Depth, and swell.

Wilma steps out of invisibility and enters the ocean.

Eileen Palmer

_______

Road building in Poland, August 1961: Lost innocence

She melded in the Tatras.

The only girl, small, neat, bright and American, among a motley bunch of British students on UN vacation work experience.

Ostensibly road building, she lit up days off in the mountains and by the river.

We met, relaxed, in pre-Wall Berlin, about to ‘do good’, naive, self-important.

We returned, frightened, to find the Wall and armed guards.

Clinging to our passports, hers, being American, was most scrutinised.

She alone stayed calm.

We all had fallen for her.

Then she disappeared. 

She was called Ruth.

Charles Woodhouse

_______

Invisible

Where is my son? Handcuffed and swept,
Unwitnessed, from a street at dawn.
A hood over his head, the pressing gun
Butted against a mother left to mourn.
Jammed behind a passenger seat
Hearing only the engine’s growl,
And a passing siren that’s not for him.
An electric prod sparks, and naked
Howls leave sores exposed and weeping,
Whilst grief seeps through bones,
Turning my chestnut smooth to grey.
Everyday I visit this place
For I trust in you my Lord.
I listen to all the Government’s reasoning,
The lies fantastical – no one can quibble
Suffocate in fear and longing for truth.

Tanya Laing

_______

Understanding

The woman came to me for cutting.
My mother said NO.
I went back to school but nobody would speak to me.
Without cutting there will be no husband.
I didn’t understand.
We moved to a shack in the city.
My Mum cried. I cried.
At my new school the teacher took us to see a film.
A lady said that the cutting was bad for us.
Two of her children had died when they were cut.
The lady on the film was my Mum.
Her two children were my twin sisters Marti and Fatu.
Now I understand.

Dorothy Crowther

_______

Invisible Woman

I dress ‘to kill’ in my feathers and skills.

Shimmering moonlight fills the bedroom. The stone walls glinting, reflecting movements of the river below.

I am cool and white like the moonlight, silky, smooth.

My naked body, cool in his hands.

Weightless, substance-less, I am about to float into space, a familiar journey. When he tries to stop me.

‘Open – your – eyes,’ he commands. He wants to see me.

My body is performing skilfully but I cannot open my eyes. I am only partly there have almost gone. Trapped in terror between the worlds of visible and invisible.

I always make my real self invisible …

Sally Stubbs

_______

The First Time

The first time Tom saw Dylan, in 1965, there was already a buzz surrounding this young American songwriter. Queueing, Tom chatted nervously to the girl in front of him. Her A- levels, like his, were near. Once inside the City Hall she disappeared to the balcony.

Eventually Dylan was on stage and for about fifteen songs epitomised presence and lyrical virtuosity in equal measure. At the end of the best two hours of Tom’s young life he filed out for the last bus home, but under a streetlight, smiling, stood the girl from earlier. ‘I can hitch home’ he thought.

Colin Dixon

_______

Invisible Woman

Act 1

Scene One

Sunday teatime table set, linen tablecloth, lace doilies. Best china polished off and gleaming. Homemade cake, scones and strawberry jam. Hot toasted teacakes run with butter.

Around the table animated talk between mother, father and teenage children. Love, laughter and warmth radiate.

Act 1

Scene Two

Sunday teatime table set, oilcloth. Crockery chipped and mismatched. Shop bought cake. Mother’s apron hangs forlornly on a hook. Father sits alone, children grown, seeds scattered on the wayward wind.

Act 1

Scene Three

Sunday teatime table set, linen and lace. Best china adorned with homemade fare. Everyone engaged in animated conversations. Mother seated centre table, heart and soul of the family.

Mary Younger

_______

Colette

Colette knew they would be coming to claim another victim for Madame Guillotine.

Invisible in the background, never acknowledged, she was a shadow, a faithful, loyal wife. She prepared canvases, mixed paint, even painted whole areas of the portrait. He was the foremost painter of the day. The patronage of the nobility gone, he had fled to England.

The knocking on the door was insistent and she answered fearful for her life. Instantly she recognised the visitor. It was the leader of the mob who insisted she paint his portrait.

Colette became a fine miniaturist.

She divorced her husband.

Ros White

_______

On becoming invisible

Don’t look for me, I’m gone,
but look in the morning shadow across the landing,
the sag of the bed, the dregs in the cup,
the living, breathing void,
a space in the air where my heart still beats.
So eat from the fridge,
and drink from the tap,
walk on the cinder path with bare feet,
hold on to everything,
and I’ll be holding too.
And when your hand slips across the sheet
one cold early morning, seeking warmth
let me meet it,
and let me carry you across the threshold.

Lorraine Mackay

Northern Writes

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‘the judge (poet Bob Beagrie) was impressed by the scale and quality of the entries … we were very much impressed by all of your submissions …’

Bev Briggs
Creative Producer

Congratulations to our own Ann Miller who was present for the Northern Writes Festival Finale in Stanley Civic Hall on Saturday 18th February when the new Northern Writes Anthology was launched. Ann’s poem The Dark Walk – entered for NW’s most recent poetry competition is included.

Coronation Day

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Photo at Pixabay

Coronation Day 1953

Things were different then. The coal mine worked.
Doors were left unlocked. Strangers welcomed.
Though the eleven plus split up school friends,
The National Union of Mine Workers and the colliery’s village people
stood by each other. A cup of sugar easily asked for and given.

There’s not much I remember.
I know I was given a mug with the Queen on it
I think from school.
There was a house – or was it a shop –
decorated with red white and blue flags,
Queen and Duke of Edinburgh statues waved from the balcony.
They looked so real I think I might have curtsied.
A maypole of moving patterns,
the dancers shaped with coloured ribbons
to music squeezed from an accordion.

I have no recognition of where this happened
dad said was in the rec. with sports and games.
Colliery band played dance tunes on the bandstand.
Some street parties, trestles borrowed from the Miners Hall
crackets and forms brought out of homes,
best tablecloths spread with food.

That’s it, not a great lot to tell except –
the weather was grey.

Ann Miller