Do you see me?

Do you see me, really?

Not who you want me to be

Or think I should be

Would be if I shaved my edges off

So you could see what you want

And I would be what you’ve desired

All these years your vision skewed

Have you ever once seen me?

Looked at me closely without distaste

Because I’m not who you envisioned I’d be

When you first started pushing, pulling at me

Trying to remove my awkwardness

Angry that what was there wasn’t desirable

I’ve noticed you still trying to cut

Little bits off when you think nobody sees

But here’s the thing

Even those who don’t know you have it

The vision to go beneath your veneer

They see you too and you’re blind to it.

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

The woman of the hill

She lived there alone, but not lonely in her home on the hill.

It was nothing fancy, no frills adorned the door. Only the old Rowan tree that curved over it.

Her years seemed to have gone on forever and she knew that one day soon, they would, as with every other creature end. People named her the wise woman and it was not her wish. For names held power, or danger, depending on whose hands held them and whose mouths spoke them.

Few words passed old Elspeth’s lips. Morning greetings, or asking after someone’s health, an offer of a prayer for the return to health or a painless end to their life. A blessing offered for a newborn. The same as any other person in the village did.

The difference was Elspeth lived outside the village. Elspeth lived alone. Elspeth was a woman.

Her garden bloomed with flowers and vegetables , herbs and berries. She grew as much as she could because she liked it that way. Her life was a life lived for many years alone.

She had lived as a young woman and lost both child and husband in quick succession. She had dug the graves herself, being without family or friends willing to help her. Elspeth had been alone many years and was content in her own company. Safe in her solitude, she’d thought.

Until now.

Only today a man in a tall hat had sat astride a horse, calling her outside in the howling wind to answer questions of a curse she’d supposedly uttered over a child.

She stood tall. Told him she’d uttered no curse over any child and had said she hoped the child was blessed.

He spat at her, saying that the child was gravely ill and he’d been called to investigate the possibility of her witchcraft. As he left he disdainfully called her Cailleach and spat in her face, hissing he’d be back for her. Sooner or later.

She went inside her home, closed the door and for the first time, bolted it. Her anger and fear made her shake.

As she went to bed she knew one thing, she had to be careful as the man wanted to come back. He was afraid of her. Fear made men act strangely.

©️AilsaCawley2020

Artful

Hiding always hiding the skills inbred

Because they don’t pay the rent

Words, paint and music not for us

Learn the practical stuff

And get a nod of acceptance

If you’re different we’re afraid of you

But we won’t say as that would encourage

What we term your airy fairy ways

And high falutin ideas of a better world

We learn to hide until the mask slips

Artistically artful and cunning

In our way of showing work until

We cannot hide any longer

Don’t care if anyone gets it or laughs

At our need to show ourselves in the open

So when you say you kept it quiet, think

Did you ever tell someone they had ideas

Above their station?

Did you help teach the artist to be artful?

Lightgiver

Teaching not preaching or leading

Words that said this was me

I can tell you how light is in everyday

Sun shining through a crack in curtains

The lightgiver taught me that

You don’t need baking sun

To warm a scared heart

You don’t need much of anything

To make a new or brighter start

Only one thing is necessary

A willingness for light to flood

As it washes away the dark

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

In lockdown land

In lockdown land

In this new land our movements slow

Everything goes

At a pace akin to another time

When maybe worlds were less frantic

And the quick jive of life

Turned into the back two, forward one

That no-one knows anymore

Or we didn’t.

A few weeks in when we’re horror numb

And our new ways are beginning

We learn to keep our distance don’t touch

But we speak to people we’d not know

If it weren’t for this damn virus

That reaps the old without mercy

And culls them in it’s nasty grasp

Still I know it’s made so many say

That life is to be lived in a way souls can ease

The lungs of the dead are filled with water

They drowned so we can breathe

But if I hear it described much more as a war

The words get thee to hell you fools

May not be the only words I scream

I know that life has changed for us all

I’ve changed and so have you

So let’s look forward to brighter days

©️AilsaCawley2020

The son that never was

I was the son they wanted you see

Someone who would be free

Three children I’m the oldest

I know people say I’m pushy

But it was well known

That girls were just a second class

At least one boy should be born

I understood from childhood

That I needed to toughen up

Followed me father to market

Till he gave me a sheep of my own

Even got me in the papers it did cos

The bugger followed me to school

So I took it in and they weren’t amused

But dad roared laughing saying that

Was exactly what he’d expect a boy to do

Knew then I had to take charge of all

Because what else could I do?

Mary had a little lamb became contrary

I knew just what had to be done

I became the son you never had

And the daughter that never was.

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

On Resiliance….

Just some thoughts from Kat on Zany Mountain

View from Zany Mountain

It’s become a bit of joke, me messing around about fancying army guys-caveat- I’m one for joking and messing. It’s hardly going to change now at this hour of my life, is it.

Actually if you do one thing-check out the army guys-Jason Fox and Ollie Ollerton-because amazingly-they are tough but have worked the line and describe a process that is both honest and healing.

Yet, here on Zany Moutanin the sunshine, laughs and craic-prevails. Until the shadow darkens on the side of  the mountain and it  doesn’t prevail any more. I’m struck by the images of people working on the frontline and I can’t bear to look. An ER doctor in New York commits suicide as does a paramedic. My heart stops for them.

I can’t bear to look at them twice- or even think of them. I worked the frontline for several years in a totally different capacity-homeless…

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Old wounds healed

Old wounds healed

His words were in the air knives

With blunted blades

You need to leave then go but I’m going to say

To all who’ll hear it was down to you

And a man who I’d rather blame

I went back to get the bare essentials

Two bin bags filled with things

He’d done to plants and flowers

What he tried to do to me and failed

Cut them off and killed connections

Dead things lay on the floor that day

Almost the end of summer and it felt

Like the first of Spring

I was terrified as my heart skipped and jumped

Knowing I no longer needed to sing a song

To make me escape from his clutches

He warned me in direst terms

Of what he’d do, they’d do

And finally I’d done what the song said

I’d broken free

I walked down the lane on butterfly wings

Heart dancing and the sun came out

Gave me her blessing

As she warmed my heart and gave hope

Telling me to keep walking towards tomorrow

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020

Rising

She is rising from the earth to sing

Her age old story on drums

That beat in heart rhythm

And carry on the wind crying

For help and guidance

So she can gather strength

As she walks through fire

Her clay body molding to new shape

Life pieced apart and rebuilt stronger.

He is behind her watchful as she dances

And sings incantations to evoke elders

The forgotten ones, remembering how

To bring them forward he is waiting

For her to signal the way ahead

The time to move on

She whirls lights from the fire catching

Skirts that dance as though alight

Her trance from now to wherever

Is watched with bated breath

She will dance faster, slower, faster

Not stopping until the answer is there

Only then will exhaustion take her

Her words before sleep to be passed

Among the gathering folk

Whispers from person to person

Man to woman, child to adult

She said the goddess spoke to her

Our mission is to carry on before the fire

Listening to the earth and saving her

The message has never changed

We carry on dancing and drumming

The earth is passing the message herself

We must listen for her roar could deafen

Even those who want to silence her.

Ailsa

©️AilsaCawleyPoetry2020