“An idea” – Poem by Naomi Head


An idea

Begin with a challenge,
a five-year-old daughter
inspire her, 
modern, successful woman.

Go back further, struggle
no statues of women in Scotland.
Edinburgh groans 
under the weight of men

and three women.
Queen Victoria, another anonymous,
only Helen Crummy
a named woman, a heroine.

By contrast, pampered pooches, 
Wojtek, Greyfriar’s Bobby, 
Copenhagen and a dog called Bum.
Women fall in the pecking order

Invisibility is not unusual,
history believing, we didn’t exist at all.
The world run for men
occasional women appear

a queen consort produces an heir,
a king dies, his daughter inherits
Exclusively royal.
The ordinary women silent

compounded by history
we are ill-equipped to navigate,
victims of terrifying persecution
fighting for their lives

far from reality.
We can do better.
Begin with an idea,
a five-year-old today,

we wish for her
tell stories to inspire
Wit, wisdom, wickedness and the truth –
Women have always held half the sky,

We always mattered
hiding in the margins
between the lines, in the gaps
enjoying the company.

Naomi Head is a freelance writer based in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Instagram: @naomieah
Podcast: @jinglebellespod

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