The Women

Photo credit: Fleur Shepherd

The Women

By Fleur Shepherd


I am so lucky to have wonderful men in my life whom I love and admire and who give me such great support; but I have noticed over the years, that when times are difficult, when a crisis hits, that it is the women who have an incredible power and gift to rally round, to empathise, commiserate and buoy each other up in an extraordinary way.

There is a prevailing opinion that women have a tendency to bring each other down and knock points off each other with judgments and snide comments, but in my experience, that only ever seems to emerge from a social insecurity that is bred to pit us against each other. I don’t believe it is an innate part of the female psyche. Instead, my reality has proved that women have an exceptional ability to embody a seemingly near inexhaustible strength of mind, body and spirit, as well as a profoundly tender compassion for and comprehension of those they love. And the men in my life are the loudest and fiercest champions of that fact.

Never more fully has this been demonstrated to me than when I’ve been at my lowest and most vulnerable. And it was at such a point, after a breakdown, a break up, and at a total loss as to what I was doing with my life, that I was flooded with a surge of love and energy from the women around me. Some of those women were struggling in their own lives, some were forging great changes in the world; some were very close to me, others didn’t know I even existed, but through their art, words or music, had reached out to bring me in. And this collective wave of energy and understanding was a lifeline when all other connections felt impossible.

The Women was the only way I knew how to say thank you. It was inspired by them, written for them, and dedicated entirely to them and all women with huge love and appreciation.

The Women

I have surrounded myself with strong women:
Wonderful, sensitive, soft women,
That fill my world with laughter and joy and life.
Around me their love and support surges,
Lifting me, through their belief in who I am,
To heights I didn’t know I had.
They are warriors, mothers, sisters of spirit – 
The girls of my youth and backbones of my growing self.
They are singers I’ve never met,
Writers I’ve only known through words,
The family of friends (old and new) I have built myself.
The hearts that have held my hand and stroked my hair,
And heaped the love and wisdom of their lives
On me to keep me warm when I’ve been cold.
But never alone.
Never alone when your world whirrs 
With the wondrousness of worthy women.

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Fleur is a published poet and spoken word artist, with a background in theatre, performance and art history.