The Women I Come From


The women I come from

learnt how to thicken their skin.

How to tan it, and beat it,

until inch by inch

it covers all those soft spots

we might have thought to share.



The women I come from

never learnt how to bow their backs

so far that vertebrae fossilise

into constant arches

that creak beneath the weight

of someone else’s moral compass.


The women I come from

learnt how to carry their secrets close.

How to tuck away their thoughts

into deeper shadows

until the faces we painted on

become the only ones we knew how to wear.


The women I come from

have hearts cocooned in armour.

They are riddles without answers

twisted into people.

They are worriers, and they are lovers

and they are more fragile then they act

when they take all of what they are

and entrust it, to someone else.


I was a bit at loss for which poem I was going to chose to write a response to for tonight DVerse Poetics. In the end I chose ‘Dragons’ by Sarah Kay, one of my favourite poets, and a poem that I find a lot of myself in when I read it.

My favourite bit of her poem is:

Me – I was not born with enough fuel. My anger often melts into sadness, it will just disintegrate into shame or fear, my clenched teeth release into chatter.

I come from a family that very much takes the ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ approach to life. In some ways it’s a fairly good ethos as it has encouraged me to stay calm in stressful situations and I don’t collapse into hysterics in the face of an emergency. Emotions get bottled up until the practical side of things is out of the way. I get it from my mother, who gets it from her mother. Out of the three of us I’m possibly the most outwardly emotional person and some of that perhaps comes from my love of writing since you have to make use of emotion when writing.

I had a couple of busy days so I’m now going to try and get through a few of the other DVerse Poets’ entries. I haven’t had chance to read through many of the poems from yesterday’s DVerse Event either so I’ll try and get through as many as I can tonight and tomorrow.

As always I love to hear what you’re thinking so feel free to leave a comment if you want. Other than that, happy writing and goodnight.


  1. Wow, just wow! I liked the words of the poem as well as your explanation that followed. I would say you came from strong woman stock. Each stanza describes a characteristic SO very well. I like the idea of never learning to bow one’s back & also ‘hearts cocooned in armor.’ I like the ending…which kind of flows the message forward…as the women pass it on and entrust it to someone else!


  2. Trickster of mind
    and emotions
    of problem
    solving.. heARts
    of moving connecting
    creating.. fires
    put out..
    art grows dArk..
    move life..
    are Spirit..
    Mind and
    body balance
    iS SoUl for n0w…:)


  3. Oh I think a poem like this describes women in a much better way than I have read before. The kind of strength we ask of women is so different than the strength we require from men. Impressive and thank you for ponying me to a poet I haven’t heard from.


  4. Wow, I love Sarah Kay’s strong poem and your response is so authentic and moving. I love reading poems of strong women and how they carry on in the face of so much. Very inspiring!


  5. ” And ain’t I a woman?”
    Hear me loud and strong….
    Did you see Aretha Franklin sing “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” in tribute to Carole King at the Kennedy Center Awards? It’s on You Tube – powerful!
    Love your response here!!!


  6. Love the introduction to Sarah’s exquisite poem…”your racket will wake the dragons” is fantastic!!! And your response is so personal and the fluidity of it is stunning. I especially LOVE, “until the faces we painted on

    become the only ones we knew how to wear”–Whoa…that tells a lot in such a gorgeous way!


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