Poetry Shelf Monday poem: Gail Ingram’s ‘Your Natural Mother Marched in 1973’

Your Natural Mother Marched in 1973

You can hear the chants, the fervent pitch
of girlish voices. Banners like waves
ripple down Cuba Street. You imagine
their heads bowed together, small groups
of women on wooden floors, gathered
around sheets and stencils and ink. ‘Housewives
are unpaid slaves’ – how about that?
Yes! Yes, and what do you think –
‘Abortion A Woman’s Right’?
They sway and swing their long brown hair,
furrow their brows, wear corduroy flares,
their bras are flung. They will

change course soon
enter offices in pencil-line
skirts, tick-tick through timeworn
government halls in stiletto steps
become ‘working women’, and
‘solo mums’ on the benefit, taking
all the jobs, taking


selfies in low-cut tops for ‘likes’
on Facebook, swinging
pink feather ponytails while
mothers don’t seem to bat
an eyelid

yet you
hear this tap –
tap-tap of hashtags –
me-too and blue-
pink-and-white tweets rising
like banners about to ripple
in a new wave
down Cuba Street.


Gail Ingram

from Some Bird (Sudden Valley Press) launching August 2023 


Gail Ingram is an award-winning writer from the Port Hills of Ōtautahi and author of Contents Under Pressure (Pūkeko Publications 2019). Her second poetry collection Some Bird (Sudden Valley Press) is forthcoming. Her work has appeared in Landfall, Turbine/Kapohau, The Spinoff, The Poetry Shelf, Poetry New Zealand, Cordite Poetry Review, Blue Nib, Barren Magazine and others. She has an MCW (with distinction) from Massey University, is managing editor for a fine line, and a short fiction editor for Flash Frontier: An Adventure in Short Fiction. Website 

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