Menopause (On the World Menopause Day)
The red leaf I brought for my mother
from an exotic tree made her cry, and she
whispered, sending ripples across her
black Darjeeling, “Don’t mind me. Mood swings
in my autumn. Some days are salt. Some days
are blood.” I didn’t comprehend.
There were crow feathers cawing, “Good afternoon.”
There was a hiss midst the grass, “Hibernation, soon.”
“I could never have another son.” My mother murmured.
I could not comprehend.
The Menopause Diary:
A transition bloomed in my body.
My body is burning like a hot Sandwich griller.
My skin glowing like an ember is
exuding moisture profusely through its pores.
My granny used to say well-used vaginas on aging
dry and shrink. Maybe, this is the reason
pains are gripping me tightly while sitting, exercising, and peeing.
Dryness is flaring its bellows on my skin and in my eyes and mouth.
I fell while tight-roping my sleep.
My mood is drenched in mercurial rain.
No more fertility
for my womb is like a barren tree now.
A transition bloomed in my body.
Not slept for nights on end but still hauling myself up
Pale enough to be asked if I’m feeling no better
But all I am is aching and exhausted tortured
By the craziest dreams and days of forgetfulness
Did I leave my glasses in the fridge again?
Horrible repetitive acid that boils whatever I eat
Some foods off the menu make it worse
And I’m sure I asked you to do that but you didn’t
You say I never even mentioned it
Am I losing my mind the tears come
Followed quickly by anger at anything and nothing
My joints ache creaking like stairs of an old house
Suddenly my face feels like an old sock worn out
Too many washe, full of holes, ready for the bin
Sleep with no covers on, windows open wide
Even on HRT I no longer feel quite like me
And I’m unable to pinpoint why that is yet
I don’t accept the things I used to just ignore
The people that would bully me for sport are told
Unequivocally that they’re getting no more warnings
As I yawn behind my hand and try to recall what it was
I actually came into the room for
Or when I read the notes I made in the dead of night
To write down in day I’ve not the faintest clue
What it was I was driving at at all
Some days I’ve migraine so bad I want to lie in a dark room
Until I get better but I could be there days you see
Like many women I have so many symptoms and try to
Just get on with them however crappy it all feels
And then I’m asked how are you doing, today
I think of saying well it’s like this or
That I feel like a burst balloon tied with string
And I answer as I always do, we all do
Oh, I’m fine you know.
-©Ailsa Cawley 2022
A Guide to Surviving the Menopause
- When over-heating during the night throw off the covers and howl at the moon.
- Whenever possible wander around town for hours, or along the beach, searching for the young man/woman you mistakenly think you have fallen in love with.
- Move out of your house temporarily and:
- Live in a hut
- Volunteer to teach small children high up in the Andes
- Travel to the deserts of the world
- Go and live at your friend’s place while she is away
- Yell, throw plates, tell your husband/wife/lover/partner/ that he/she is the most boring person you have ever met
- Try to sleep with your colleague/guide/tutor/friend – this is unlikely to be successful but no one can later accuse you of not making the effort
- Refuse to cook/clean/iron/work – in fact refuse anything you don’t want to do – after all you have spent a life-time as a people-pleaser and surely it is time for a change
- Get outrageously drunk/smoke/get off your head, dance madly, cause some kind of scene/any kind of scene
- Get a tattoo/shave off your hair, wear your pants on your head
- Turn up the music loud to annoy your neighbours
- Climb a tree, canoe a river, give away your possessions
One day you will wake up and you will be through this stage of your life and even though you will not miss the flushes and sweats, the giddy spells, the foggy brain, the fits of rage, you will miss the madness of it all.
Bios and Links
An author, journalist, and a father, Kushal Poddar, editor of ‘Words Surfacing’, authored eight books, the latest being ‘Postmarked Quarantine‘. His works have been translated into eleven languages.
is the author of two novels and two collections of flash fiction. Her flash fiction has been widely published both online and in print anthologies. She is currently working on a novella
is a poetess and a book reviewer. Her poetry was featured firstly digitally in the “Imaginary Land Stories“, the poetry featured was “The Seashell”. Her poetries have been published in anthologies including “Sing, Do the birds of Spring”, “A Whisper Of Your Love”, “Hard Rain Poetry: Forever Dylan” and “Bare Bones Writing Issue 1: Fevers of the Mind”. Paul Brookes has featured her poetry “A Monstrous Shadow” as the “Seventh Synergy” in “SYNERGY: CALLING ALL WRITERS WHO ARE PHOTOGRAPHERS” and many other poetries on his blog “The Wombwell Rainbow”. She has been featured in the “Quick-9 interview” on feversofthemind.com. She has reviewed three poetry books, including, “Silence From The Shadows” by Stuart Matthews “Spaces” by Clive Gresswell, and “Washed Away- a collection of fragments” by Shiksha Dheda. She has been a part of the celebration for Jeff Flesch’s launch of his debut poetry book “Nature Speaks of Love and Sorrow”.
Ailsa was brought up in the North East of England, and now lives on the Isle of Skye. She’s always been fascinated with myths, legends, faery tales and folklore whether it’s horror or local legend. She’s currently in editing stages of her first novel which includes some ghostly characters (surprise, surprise!) and has a story in the Red Dog GONE anthology in November.
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