The following is a poem by Katheleen McCreery, which she, Valerie Bryce, and Sinead Gallagher will be performing in Letterkenny, Donegal, Ireland on Feb. 14


Can you hear

the voices

of the women

above the clamour of

computers firing off form letters

to all the dear sirs in the land

the munching of machines

gobbling up raw cotton

like there was no tomorrow

the SOS of dishes drowning

in a grease-filled sink?


Can you hear the voices of

the women

above the whoosh of waters breaking

and the uncertain beating

of a foetal heart

above the everlasting agony of

babies with three month bloody colic

above the noise of little boys

demanding food and football kits and me first

and-now-isn’t-he-the spitting-image-of-his-father?

Above the silence of the daughters

who’ve discovered on the school bus

Mother Eve’s an outcast?


Can you hear the voices of the women

above the whistles from the curbs that crawl

with packs of itchy urban wolves in jeans and leathers

through the walls that leak

the smack of fists on flesh

cracking ribs

blacking eyes

breaking promises

and jaws

and spirits?


Can you hear the voices of the dead

and buried women

thin as smoke

above the roar

of inquisitor

and the flames which snapped and licked and leapt

melting the wisdom

of ash-white witches

above the flute which called the tune for

tiny dancing feet

bound back on themselves

trailing blood and lotus blossoms

above the whisper of the pages when

a writer’s name was exorcised and

replaced with a man’s?


Can you hear the sweet

strong voices

of the young women

of Pakistan

above the bullets of the Taliban

Ssshh listen!

They are opening their books

Reading aloud

Speaking at the UN.

Can you hear the voices

behind the balaclavas

of the brave

young Russian women

above the clang of prison gates

the screams of convicts driven mad

by beatings

lack of soap and water

and sleep?

Listen!  Their peaceful protest

Their Punk Prayer

Still echoes round Moscow’s

Cathedral of Christ the Saviour

appealing to the Holy Virgin

to ‘chase Putin out’.


Can you hear them

The voices of the

cradle rocking, vicar shocking

wedding marching, collar starching

kitchen mopping, karate chopping

burger frying, airplane flying

low pay earning, bugger, it’s burning

channel swimming, can’t, I’m slimming

time clock punching, chocolate munching

taxi driving, late arriving

tatie peeling, virginia reeling

trolley pushing, children shushing

mountain climbing, silly rhyming

cocktail shaking, history making

tennis playing, baby weighing

toe nail clipping, red wine sipping

bingo calling, overhauling

poultry plucking, nip and tucking

opera singing, Highland flinging

story telling, heather selling

marathon running, backyard sunning

salad dressing, mother confessing

guitar strumming, conga drumming

soapbox thumping, parachute jumping