Male Contraceptive?

There’s been a new wave of discussion on this topic recently following the announcement of new trials for the male contraceptive gel. I wrote this poem a few months ago after reading some ridiculous articles in 2016 about the ‘unbearable’ side effects of the male contraceptive. It is in no way a perfect poem, nor is the meter or rhyme faultless, but I wanted to share it anyway as part of my contribution to the discussion. It’s one of the first long poems that I wrote and I appreciate it for what it is!

The poem was initially written in response to Anna Letitia Barbauld’s ‘Washing-Day’ for an assessment at university. I wanted to capture this discussion on male contraceptives in a similar for to Barbauld, using her turning points and perspectives as an inspiration for my piece. I wanted to contrast the female and male perspectives in this piece to express the mixed emotions that people felt after hearing the trials were halted last year. If you haven’t read Barbauld’s poem, ‘Washing-Day’ I would highly recommend it. It’s a beautiful piece on women’s labour.

I hope you like this piece.

Mini Pill

The women are turned gossips;[1] roll their eyes,
And sigh when they hear of the trial’s demise.
It’s not worth the risk when they become ill,
Come on, girl, and swallow the bitter pill.
Published that morning, the article reads
“Male contraceptive works” but work it needs.[2]
Oh, the disappointment those women faced
Learning that their burden won’t be replaced.
It isn’t well known that the trial took place,
No wonder it’s so hushed in cyberspace.
But there are a few kicking up a fuss.
Minor side effects they want to discuss:
“Cramps in their muscles, and acne break outs,
An increase in libido!” She then shouts,
“God forbid they want to bang more often,
And some poor men must face their depression!”
It’s not an alarm that wakes you most days,
But the cramps in your gut, the aches and pains.
You can feel the stomach acid churning,
Wrapped in your sheets you try to stop squirming.
And once the nausea begins to subside
You are reminded of other downsides.
Alarm still blaring, ringing in your ears,
A migraine manifests; try to stop tears.
There’s some water on the bedside table,
Pop out the pill and swallow when able,
Chase with painkillers and a slice of toast
Even though your appetite’s worse than most.
Time to strip down and jump in the shower,
And lose yourself in the hot water’s power,
But under the heat your breasts are quite sore,
Tender, and look, more stretch marks than before.
Steam does nothing to settle your belly,
Acid is rising, knees turned to jelly.
Quick, to the toilet, up comes your last meal.
Gross. But your stomach is better, you feel.
Look in the mirror at your reflection,
A cluster of spots ruins your complexion.
They’re angry and red, concealing your cheek,
And each one makes your self-confidence weak.
Even puberty did not serve you this
Many mood swings that you cannot dismiss.
They are all highs and lows you must endure,
Getting through the day, an emotional blur.
I remember being taught to respect,
To love all women, to cherish and protect.
But each day I watch this labour ensue,
Watch pain and trauma, without helping you.
There are pros and cons of this mini pill,
I see this struggle every day but still
Can’t help but see the upside of this task
When you say ‘not pregnant’ each time I ask.
A bitter truth that underlies this test
Unsettles the gossips, and causes unrest.
The men were free, volunteers, and yet,
At the start, terms of choice were never set.
Those shackles were not an option for most
Who were forced to take a sterilise dose,
So the public could cheer “freedom of choice!”
Though Puerto Rico had lost its voice.
Another setback, the burden remains,
Women must tolerate the bonds and chains
That were offered to them in sixty-one
Like a saving grace or a ray of sun.

[1] Frances Burney, ‘Washing-Day’ in Anna Letitia Barbauld: Selected Poetry and Prose, eds. William McCarthy and Elizabeth Kraft (Broadview Press, 2002), pp. 143-147, l. 1 (slightly altered)

[2] New Scientist staff and Press Association, ‘Male contraceptive injection works—but side effects halt trial’ in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 101 (2016). Available at http://bit.ly/2m9ejCU [accessed 10 February 2017]

Photos at Three Cliffs Bay

This weekend I went to the Mumbles and Three Cliffs Bay. The sun was bright and hot, and would have been completely unbearable if it weren’t for the breeze blowing in from the sea. The views were incredible and the colour of the sea was stunning against the cliffs. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever get bored of the beautiful nuggets of magic in Wales, it’s a beautiful country and I’ll be sad to leave it behind.

Here are a few photographs from my walk down to Three Cliffs Bay.

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Sunset poetry

sunset I

the universe is tangled
in a raging war between
the night and day as they stretch
to embrace Gaia

~

sunset II

its burning white light
crushed into crimson
and viscous honey
beneath a blanket
of gods

~

sunset III

the horizon is consumed
by fire
as Helios cripples
again.

Seasons Change

If you follow my blog then you’ll have seen just over a month ago that I went on a walk. I went on that same walk this weekend and found it incredible how quickly the environment changes from one season to the next. It reminds us how quickly and brutally time turns our world. If you do want to see how these photographs differ from those a month ago, then you can follow the following link:

https://asingularpoppy.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/follow-the-foxgloves/

I hope you like the photography!

~

The views in Wales always astound me. The beauty and magic that the landscape seems to exhume always takes my breath away and fuels my imagination. Nature here has an element of mystery and magic, and I wanted to capture some of its magic through my camera.

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I’m convinced that fairies live here

~

I’m convinced that fairies live here
Hidden betwixt the feather-light
Sprigs and deadly thin thorn bushes
That drape around the pool, blinding
One realm from another.

The pool sits like a mirror
But I don’t see myself peering
Into the metallic basin
Two steps beneath my feet because
There only exist the trees.

 I hear the wind beyond the barbs
At my back, beyond the entrance
I stumbled upon but I feel
No breeze between my fingertips
In this timeless find of mine.

The sun is broken by shards of
Twigs and leafy limbs that arc above
My head and descend in spiralled
Tendrils that I can almost reach
And twine around my wrists.

Would they carry me to the dwelling
Where fairies trap our tempted souls
To exist for eternity
Just beyond the reach of lucidity
Beneath the pool’s façade?

 

poems about a bruised peach

I’ve always found it difficult to talk about my feelings, as I’m sure most people do. Writing poetry is very new to me but it has already helped me open up to myself about what I feel and what I pretend to feel. I find myself surprised by the words that fall onto the pages of my little, yellow notepad, the notepad that I carry with me at all times now in case inspiration sparks unexpectedly. These are a few poems influenced by my relationships, I hope you like them.

~

you made me feel
like a bruised
and battered
peach

decaying
and purpling
beneath the soft
young flesh

but then I left
and found
Lazarus
who helped me

– revitalise my soul

~

 

I could feel the weight
of Atlas’s burden
not on my shoulders
but on my heart
when I saw the things
he said to her

– things he doesn’t say to me

~

 

Lazarus helped bring light
back into my soul
but changed his mind
and took it all for himself

– trust too easily

~

 

he says goodbye
with that dimpled smile,
that dangerous, flirtatious
look in his eyes

and I tell myself
I’m the only one
that truly sees him
this way.

– deep breaths in darkness

poems about the way i sometimes feel

I drink coffee
because I feel
cold
when I wake up
alone
every single morning

~

I eat cake
for breakfast
because
the sweetness
will make today
better than yesterday

            ~

I buy junk
food and chocolates
for myself
because my feelings
fall
on deaf ears

~

I swallow shots
of whiskey
until
I fall asleep
because crying
gives me headaches

all the names he gave me ~ a poem

he calls me bunny
because my top lip curls when I smile

he calls me cheeky
when I tease him while I’m cooking

he calls me chicken
because I crinkle my nose when I’m sad

he calls me sweetie
because I curl into a ball when I’m sleepy

he calls me monkey
because I stomp my feet when I giggle

he calls me angel
when I don’t get out of bed because I feel hollow

 – all the names he gave me

 

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~ sometimes I feel like I’m drowning

Forgotten Things

After graduating from university, I’ve been thinking about a lot of things that I’ve lost or forgotten about over the past few years. I think a lot of people move so quickly through education that they don’t look behind very often, and I’m definitely one of those people. But being in that limbo between graduation and work, I’ve been thinking about things I’ve lost and things I’ve found, and it inspired this poem. So, I hope you like it, and maybe it influences you to think about some of those seemingly insignificant things that you’ve left behind, too.

Forgotten Things – a poem

I found a bridge in Wales
where tracks used to run
between two towns

and there’s a chipped mug
in the back of my cupboard
from a friend I left behind

my favourite dress hangs discarded,
a red wine stain on the sleeve,
from a night of love and laughter

every day I prick my toe
on an earring stamped into the carpet
but I never pick it up

and I’ll never wear my lipstick,
the dark purple one lost in my desk,
because I wore it when she broke my heart