Shielded

I wish I could dismantle this
armour – It’s too big for me,
too hard and heavy.

I’d never choose it in a shop.
The shape’s all wrong. The edges too sharp,
the style too manly.
I’m sure my Dad slipped it over my head
when I was a girl.

In slumber. Lifted my back with his large hand – sleepy head
mouth open silent soft breaths
of sleeping child.
Slipped my left arm then right through metal holes.
Laid me down
Made the sign of the cross on my brow,
Said night and god bless
Whispered – my daughter
you’ll need this when you are older.

My child, can I tell you now – your daddy loves you
Take this -there will be a time
when it will seem
all the love has gone from me.

So, my daughter, take this chest plate,
silver coloured, heavy – it will protect you
from all the blows
from all the other men –

Know, my bairn, my bonny lass –
-you are the strongest warrior –
You will survive all battles.
Emerge victorious,

Your head all shook up
Naive to the war you’ve undertaken
been tossed about in.

Then, in that moment,
Sit with me –
My morning gifts at your feet.
Hare, honey, field mushrooms,
All these things I give to you.

Know, my child, my daughter, my bonny lass
That the war has passed
And you can leave those boys to their war torn
battlegrounds.

Published by Stella McHugh

Survivor of so many things that happens to women and girls.

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