Rachel Hawkins-Crockford

the list


let’s build a list

(you already know how it goes)

everything is written

binary opposition

hard coding inside you


start here:

male                           female


add more:

light                            dark

sky                              earth

mind                           body

conscious                  unconscious

thought                      feeling

civilised                      wild


these pairs could go on forever

with nothing in between

that is a little bit of sky, a little bit of earth

unless you count the sandstorm


what is male, light, sky is culture

the boy god who brings the sun

builds language

the trickster who steals

from his mother’s womb


woman, dark, earth, body, water

there lies the danger

the opposite of culture





but between the light and dark

there is grey and also dusk

warm twilight

plural experience

endless continuum



in that space

infinite gradations



I wrote this in response to something I’d been reading in Nick Totton’s wonderful book Wild Therapy. Reading it in the group was hampered by technological issues – such are the highs and lows of meeting by Zoom in 2020 instead of in the room above the Lansdown pub! Gillie kindly read it for me instead and it was nice to hear it in another woman’s voice. I think the feedback received has led to this improved version of the poem.