International Women’s Day at Todmorden Town Hall, 22 Feb 2014

Oxana at International Women's Day
Oxana at International Women’s Day

The wonderful Lady Mayor & Mayoress of the wonderful Todmorden invited women to Todmorden Town Hall, dressed in Suffragettes’ green, purple and white (I still remember vividly the touching and expressive opera “Emily” by Todmorden’s own Tim Benjamin).

Emma Decent presents Open Mic
Emma Decent presents Open Mic

Crowds flocked to browse the stalls of various women’s organisations and buy crafts and treats made by women of Todmorden and beyond. Emma Decent gave us all the gift of Open Mic, to which she contributed her memorable poems about her dog, having sex with the sky, and of course the epic comment poem about a man who shouted “Lezbo!” at the very first Magic Words – the incident which I witnessed. It is not often that one finds oneself in a spot where history is made.

Egg shakers to perform Kostroma
Egg shakers to perform Kostroma

I started with frame drumming and singing a spring ritual song from the Slavic culture, “Kostroma”. Lovely women around the stage area greatly helped me by shaking multicoloured egg shakers – perfect symbols of spring.

I was happy to share my poems too, in particular “Spring Equinox 2013” to welcome the approaching holiday.


In the Soviet Union Internationals Women’s Day was a public holiday, and so it remains in post-Soviet Russia. It is a celebration of Women, of Spring, and there are tulips everywhere. I shared a short topical poem  remember from childhood with the women of Calderdale:

Мы скажем маме: с Женским Днем!
Весь год мы помнили о нем.

(We will say: Happy Women’s Day to our Mom!
We have remembered it throughout the year.)

Oh – and thanks go to Jude for acting as a photo reporter!


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