Her Story

Written in response to Layne Redmond’s Book ‘When the Drummers Were Women’

Her Story

Holding the sacred grain carefully in your hands

Wondering, telling her story, telling everyone

But no one’s listening

Contains your life in one small grain

shrouded in darkness

Finding your way

Opening up to a new way of being

Stories we are told no longer believing

Buried within a difficult place originally held

She was silenced for her story

that tiny grain waiting to grow

no one said, “what would you think now?”

sieved out and fallen on barren ground

stories we’re told can’t be unheard

can’t be unwritten

No going back her story was never told

buried deep in the grain silo

clay figures buried and hidden

sieve and shake the story out

And relive the time when I drummed into life

and I had no idea what I was thirsty for

I had no idea that it was buried so deep

And I had no idea the secrets I had to keep

These secrets are ready to be told

ready to be shared but I need to be bold

Can’t hide behind this fat coat of shame 

cos it wasn’t my fault and there’s no one to blame

stories we’re told

become the broken seeds and the tired lives

when their stuck in the mud with no hope of life

but there’s always hope there’s always a time

where you can free yourself and the feelings sublime

It doesn’t really matter how long it takes

if its 20 or 50 years of shakes

but the important thing is when you are down in the dark

it’s the cracks and the scars are what bring you back

I never thought that this was for me

that I could tell my story

because I was so impatient to be free

struggling on trying to find a way to express myself

every day

every day I try every day I give up

every day I constantly feel stuck

I’ve drawn a line

can’t do it anymore 

I’m very rarely fine

I don’t mind sharing 

I don’t mind telling

anyone that will listen

I don’t mind telling 

I don’t mind sharing

I cry all the time

But the tears are words maybe I’m not ready to say and I’ll save them for another day

because now that I’m slowly starting to hear my own voice, I’m loving it and telling it 

you do have a choice

you’ve always got a choice even if you don’t believe me

trust me 

I’m telling my story finally now

But I’m beginning to wonder

beginning to wonder



© Maureen Malcolm-Gourley 2019

Conditional love

She walked on to the stage, calmly with an air of inner confidence Her pink suede trainers squeaking like a dog toy across the black rubber floor. Her coat was shocking pink and her silk dress underneath was pink and green with a flowery pattern, it reached her knees. The blonde hair bleached with the undercut of grey becoming more evident every day.  No one in the audience could see the internal heart pounding or the dry mouth but this was where she belonged.  Shitting herself or not this was where she belonged her mantra of ‘Iam strong now; I have all that I need’ spun around her brain like the scene in Elf where he finds the revolving door. 

Putting on her mask of confidence no one could see what was on the other side she knew though her intention was clear and stated six months ago and every day since like ordering online from Argos knowing that, believing that, sure in the fact that her story was valid her story needed to be told needed that connection like the unconditional way a parent loves you no matter what without boundaries.

‘I’ll only love you if you do it my way’ she said how would the words come out words that stuck in her throat the forty nine years of unkind words and unexpressed anger all sitting in a pool of disgust and shame even the words that had been cut out still wasn’t enough the words removed like the acidic cells that congregated around like the psychotic character that were all her but not her all.

She couldn’t understand and no one else could. How could she be so grateful for all the beatings, the bits cut out, the way she treated herself, but this was the time to step out from under her own self-made evil twin shadow.  This was the time for her chance to share the story that she had been longing to hear, for herself,her own voice; loud, impatient, cracking, confident she realised she was all those things all those matryoshka dolls rolled in to one. 

Now that she was seven cycles on she was finally feeling what it meant to be in her skin and all was well and the stones she had carried represented all her stories.  

The scar on her neck resembled the inner smile that she could only now see and her daughter’s tiny hands that used to caress the lump willing it to dissolve willing the words to be said but didn’t.  She now caresses the scar in a meditational way that calms both mother and daughter forever grateful that the burden of some of those beatings and those cruel words standing high on the golden pedestal in her gilded cage with her wings clipped wings bare and her voice silenced and unspoken even though the door was open for years she could only dip her toe out for fear of the recriminations.  

The gilded cage she melted and she is saving and blessing this molten gold as its this gold that will kintsugi her back together with the finesse of a master craftsman she will love and celebrate every crack, every bruise, every scar, every unspoken word of love for herself will be whispered in to that gold. Slowly methodically patiently she will be the one gluing, she will be the one crafting, uncovering the light leaving space for each reincarnation of those hand painted dolls stacked inside one another as she whispers to them ‘we are all welcome we are all listening and we hear you’. 

The time for being stuck under the cloths where she didn’t know she was born she got her hair shaved and found a birthmark hiding on her neck that looks like a wonky love heart and she keeps saying over and over she can’t quite believe it. It means that she was born she was born how had she become so disconnectedfrom being human that she cant believe she was born. 

Not calling herself a woman even with the stretch marks to prove it, she is a woman and her children’s existence proves she is a mother but being so disconnected for so long has left her tired.  Tired of trailing all the other voices around that no one listened to even she didn’t. She smoked those voices out, hid her tiny voice in the smallest dolls imprisoned terrified to speak terrified to sing sending a consistent low drone down in to the roots of all the future trees please see me because I’m blind and I’m held captive by my own lack of empathy for myself. 

The tiny jazz orchestra tinkles in the background and the transitions keep the seed of her soul alive sometimes a root will tap and say ‘now it’s your time’ but I can’t she says ‘it’s safe in the dark’ the seed is comforted by the pain it knows and says ‘not yet I’m not ready’.  Like the tiny crack that opens up each time another root sings to the seed and the seed just swallows her song until it is cut open.  How grateful the seed is for all the roots that have sung to her who have warmed her in their hands holding tapping in morse code ‘you are safe, you are loved come out to play’ the seed stayed in the dark dreaming, wishing that someone else could grow for her cos that’s all she ever knew was someone being there to do it for her.

© Maureen Malcolm-Gourley 2019