Empress. by Emma Wells

Blush-peach flesh
shines in dappled light;
gilded bars hold
her bird-like frame
within its ornate,
metal-fierce hold;
she dangles upon a perch
singing softly sweetened lullabies
to darkened corners,
wishing to unearth hope
in bands of chivalry,
as her outstretched wrists.

Russian courtiers
wink and wave
as she passes,
coursing Tudor roses
in her pathway
as a trailing vein:
blood-claret, full-blossomed
as rubies unravelling
decadent spills
of vermillion velvet,
marking each step
with prestigious stamps
of red-carpet royalty.

Smiles of interest
climb behind fanned faces;
heightened eyebrows
note otherworldliness -
a prime peach
spinning on a platter,
juice-rich, satiating as dew
on sun-scorched petals
suckling beaded nectar.

Catherine climbs
as curious ivy —
peeking above male parapets,
searching for female,
virginal soil
where seeded corsets
are laced with ribboned promise;
pearlescent white shells
press to the surface
as rising tides
surging to stormy fruition,
dripping with invigoration.

Patriarchal men shudder,
where full-bearded,
mock grey wisdom
sits upon eggshell heads,
easily crushable beneath
her silken hell,
dancing amidst pomp,
balloon bursting
as her intellect rises
like flickers of candlelight
grown bold by the uplifting wind.

Emma is a mother and English teacher. She has poetry published with and by: The World’s Greatest Anthology, The League of Poets, The Lake, The Beckindale Poetry Journal, Dreich Magazine, Drunken Pen Writing, Porridge Magazine, Visual Verse, Littoral Magazine, The Pangolin Review, Derailleur Press, Giving Room Magazine, Chronogram and for the Ledbury Poetry Festival. She also has published a number of short stories and her first novel, Shelley’s Sisterhood, is due to be published shortly.

How many women over history have either been silenced or not recognised in their own right for great discoveries and achievements?

The answer to this is sadly: many.

Shelley’s Sisterhood explores such women in fictitious Victorian London. Ida, a budding scientist, and her fellowship of similarly minded ‘Sisters’ find and discover the means for modern surgery to be what it is today. They trial and develop anaesthesia and antiseptic in the shadows of supposed male superiors.

Follow Ida’s journey while learning about a wider ‘Sisterhood’ of under-sung and little-known women - a great collection of scientists, astronomers, religious leaders, inventors…ad infinitum!