The time has come. Pass beyond
pain. Cast off your desire to blink us
out of sight. How do you think
that makes a girl feel? I get it.
We’re an unholy trinity,
my sisters and I, not much …
About the poem
This poem appeared in the July issue of Salomé magazine in July 2017.
This poem was one of first explorations into Celtic history and mythology for my MA dissertation. The epigraph came from the book that inspired the poem - It is accompanied by an epigraph which is a passage from the book that inspired the poem - Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race, T W Rolleston. The casual way their fate is explained struck a chord with me, because it seemed like such a terrible fate - to die every time a man dies on a battlefield, to be dreaded, blamed and reviled for the death yet also to be suffering throughout it and without even a name or a real identity.
I think the fact that I am one of three sisters made these figures have additional impact for me - this isn't at all about my own sisters, but is in part about being what is sometimes considered the ignored middle child. I don't really feel that way, I've never felt there was anything bad about being in the middle, on the contrary I think it lends a certain freedom that comes from less pressure. For me, this meant that the character could speak freely on the basis that they're not really expecting anyone to listen. The older and younger characters do not speak, and are nothing like my own but rather stretched characterisations of female stereotypes - hag and maid - to demonstrate how dehumanised women are as symbols.
The poem is about how women's bodies are often shown naked (for no particular reason) and somehow broken as a symbol in literature and equally, are often discarded and forgotten collateral damage in war. That's probably the reason the tone is so very angry, although I admit it was great fun to write because the expression of my feelings about the portrayal and treatment of women was so cathartic. There's also something fun about pushing the horror as far as you can as you try to balance the sense of revulsion with one of pity.