#folktober. Day Seven. “Sheela Na Gig” Broadening the theme, have you created any published/unpublished poetry/short prose/artworks about female empowerment? I will feature all contributions on today’s blog.

Sheela Na Gig

sheela na gig

kilpeck sheela na gig

Sheela Na Gig, Rodel
Such a long road to drive.
I find you weathered by Harris winds,
worn in the smirr of rain,
hollowed, unholy mother.

I seek your protection, projection
of fertility, one stopped hand
holding a child or a lamb;
the other lost in a shape
that meant something once.

My barren belly
concaves in the wet
afternoon, my waterproof
the only second skin I’ll own.

Yet there’s hope in your arms,
the cleft in your legs, an open
on the rough bricks of stone.

-Lynn Valentine

wom empowerment anjum wasim dar

-artwork by Anjum Wasim Dar

Do Not
Do not make me sit
before a mirror
in which my eyes meet those
of a bald stranger
You hate it but
Long hair is grace
It gives me space
It is nature’s gifted power.

-anjum wasim dar
CER Copyright 2021


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.



Sheela Na Gig

I sit in stone above this church door.
You must crane your neck to see me carved here.
I am bald naked my pendulous raw
breasts hang just above my spread legs. Come near.

Life enters and returns to me. What
is it about me that fascinates you?
Celebrate my fertility and shock
of my age. Once I was hidden from view.

I was in darkness, a cloth thrown over
me. Somebody was ashamed of what they
saw in me. Cloth lifted, life unsmothered.
Folk passing through my door see my display.

I don’t know why I was placed so high up.
I look down, vulnerable, opened up.

-Paul Brookes

Bio and Links

-Ailsa Cawley

has been writing stories, poems and verses since she was a child. 
It’s not always what is considered poetry by some, as she isn’t a lover of sweet, schmaltzy rhymes! 
She is currently writing her first novel. A psychological thriller with a paranormal element, and she hopes to bring out a poetry collection one day! 
She lives on the Isle of Skye. While some of her poetry is written from personal experience, others are written from her slightly dark and twisted  imagination. 

-Lynn Valentine

Lynn Valentine’s debut poetry collection will be published by Cinnamon Press in April 2022, after winning their Literature Award. She has a Scots language pamphlet ‘A Glimmer o Stars’ out with Hedgehog Poetry Press, after winning their dialect competition in 2020.  She was recently awarded runner-up place in the Scots category of the Wigtown Poetry Prize.

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