Women I love to love

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2013, I’d like to pay homage to five of my favourite ladies-in-the-limelight…

1. Patti Smith – poet, punk-rocker, artist, musician, mother, lover…

Read her blog here.

patti smith

Wilderness by Patti Smith

Do animals make a human cry
when their loved one staggers
fowled dragged down
the blue veined river

Does the female wail
miming the wolf of suffering
do lilies trumpet the pup
plucked for skin and skein

Do animals cry like humans
as I having lost you
yowled flagged
curled in a ball

This is how
we beat the icy field
shoeless and empty handed
hardly human at all

Negotiating a wilderness
we have yet to know
this is where time stops
and we have none to go

2. Joni Mitchell – songwriter, poet, musician…

3. Susie Orbach – psychotherapist, psychoanalist, writer, speaker, feminist, activist…

susie orbach

Check out AnyBody here – a website devoted to body image, run by Orbach – with news of campaigns and projects she’s working on.

4. Michèle Roberts – novelist, poet, artist, feminist, lover of food, lover of love…

michele roberts

I had the great pleasure of working with Michèle for International Women’s Day last year, as she and the wonderful artist Caroline Isgar brought their beautiful exhibition: The Secret Staircase, to Rook Lane Arts in Frome – where I was working as arts coordinator. See here for info about the exhibition.

She lives every day like it’s the first, or the last – savouring smells, flavours, people and places. This love of life – and the senses – adds depth and delight to her novels and poetry. Visit her website here.

5. Sharon Olds – poet, teacher…

The Flurry by Sharon Olds

When we talk about when to tell the kids,
we are so together, so concentrated.
I mutter, “I feel like a killer.” “I’m
the killer”—taking my wrist—he says,
holding it. He is sitting on the couch,
the old indigo chintz around him,
rich as a night sea with jellies,
I am sitting on the floor. I look up at him,
as if within some chamber of matedness,
some dust I carry around me. Tonight,
to breathe its Magellanic field is less
painful, maybe because he is drinking
a wine grown where I was born—fog,
eucalyptus, sempervirens—and I’m
sharing the glass with him. “Don’t catch
my cold,” he says, “—oh that’s right, you want
to catch my cold.” I should not have told him that,
I tell him I will try to fall out of
love with him, but I feel I will love him
all my life. He says he loves me
as the mother of our children, and new troupes
of tears mount to the acrobat platforms
of my ducts and do their burning leaps.
Some of them jump straight sideways, and, for a
moment, I imagine a flurry
of tears like a whirra of knives thrown
at a figure, to outline it—a heart’s spurt
of rage. It glitters, in my vision, I nod
to it, it is my hope.

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