Kathryn Crowley


Let me tell you about colour
Crimson, maroon, bright pink
reddish brown blood 
the darkest wine tones
all owned by me, mixed internally
by my artist womb.

Before my period 
I might be cranky, weepy or tired
‘Till little darts of pain proclaim 
the juggernauts imminent arrival.

When I bleed 
Things get even brighter, louder 
My tolerance level is bothered 
But this is not disease; in four days symptoms pass.

The word ‘period’ is accurate but you say ‘in the flowers’
Or ‘auntie flo’/‘on the rag’ I could go on for hours
How bizarre that you will not name this 
Girls and boys shamed with the weight of your stigma.
Our daughters hide tampons up their sleeves
concerned about image, not how they feel
and they’re the lucky ones; many can’t afford the basics
and I wonder when you’ll face this.
Wild flowers bloom then die.
When pockets empty it’s tragic for health
menstruation is a human rights issue
knickers stuffed with tissue is NOT ok
children with cramps toilet roll pads
one in four miss school; these are facts.
So when it comes to everyday talk of functions natural and yet so shamed
use the right terms; the body’s not vile
 speak the unspoken give up your word games.


No harvesting embarrassments 
or red-faced shame
Looking back pondering 
the past and who’s to blame.

Be still.

Let moving sounds cloak you
Hear wind in copper beech 
The trickle of a gurgling liquid 
crystal flowing stream.

Breathe in.

Sitting in the carnival 
where masks hide pain
Seeing beyond sparkle 
To truth so plain.

 Be still.



Based in Ireland, Kathryn Crowley writes about the woes and wellness of society, observations on the human condition, and personal somatic experience.  She also enjoys painting and dance.  See www.artyshe.com Twitter @artyshe 

Flights, Issue Three, December 2021