Issue 29: Glenda George

On the occasion of a 7th decade completed.  Scarlet Openings revealed.


In the early 1970s, two young women from humble backgrounds, alike but different, initially unaware of each other, were working from tangential perspectives: from a strong sense of social justice, from a chafing against continuing paternalism and misogyny that existed despite the apparent idealism the 60s had promised us, from a fascination with folk tales and women’s history and old wives, discovering that many women had wielded powers in the past that were not otherwise well documented save for popular oral tradition.


We published our first writings around the same time and, even though we have rarely met, I always felt a sisterly kinship.


This text explores some of our tenuous, shared history through a collage of cut-up (from our early works, published back-to-back in a Supplement to Split Curtains) and found appropriatisms (sic) with some new words of my own. I hope it creates a personal collision of two lives through historical and more recent popular culture.   It is an experimental experience; a workshop puzzle-game, since, for me, the process is as important as the product.  Life is fun and a birthday is to be celebrated. Follow the clues.

NB: Phrases from the aforementioned early work of either of us are in italics; “borrowed”  or “found” words and phrases  from songs are in bold. What remains are new words on a new page of now.


For added fun and to get you in the mood: first, listen:  or



Luck be a

Lady tonight

ride on the written track


the lack or

want of a nail

just a name

                  the same

horse, the cart



sisters in popular

cultured pearls pose


before scissored swines’ ears/

eye of newt – into the pot


Don’t move my pretty

All the pretty horses


My mama told me/if I was goody/ that she would buy me/ a rubber dolly/ But when I told her/I’d kissed a soldier/

Now she won’t…

wants, waits

silently hugging the lisp of words

but listen

a tender song


O lovely pussy, O pussy, my love

what lessons hide,

lurk under doilies or the owl-glass


by the brass knick-knacks on the sideboard?


crawling out from under

the half-truths, myths moan

moon-mother’s light


calculate how distant

the moon to the nearest


inch-ing through the tide

that sucks us silently


start over      start over    if at first

try, try again

compose electronic music for the good doctor

doctor the sick

edit the falsehoods

find the lie


all this we women do

have done


the scarlet opening

between the curtains

is perceived

thus he can no longer


She can break out

Let’s go find the tickling ticking


Men split the atom so why can’t we?


Sisters in our skins,

tomboys, skinning our shins,

tree huggers, nature mothers,

motorbike lassies wearing leathers (I wish!)

old wives telling truths:

May blossom stinks when in

the house


scenting lovely on the


no wonder it brings bad luck to thee

to cut

and run and run

ring rosy round

in a gaggle rattle

through the thistles and nightshade

We learn how to speak in order to divulge secrets.



But listen,  a

 tender song

For whom the bell shall not yet toll




“ And the book lay open, and my thought flew from it, taking from it

A vibration and implusion to an end beyond its own,

As the branch of a green osier, when a child would overcome it,

Springs up freely from her clasping and goes swinging in the sun.”

from Lady Geraldine’s Courtship – Elizabeth Barrett-Browning



Glenda George


August 2022








[Glenda George has been writing since 1970 and published widely and internationally in the small presses of the next two decades or more. Her translation work, originally with Paul Buck’s Curtains magazine, began with extensive translations into English of contemporary French literature and ended and extended with collaborative English to French and vice versa texts with various French language exponents. After some 15-20 years, during which she took an unexpected sabbatical, exploring other creative avenues, she reconnected with the modern literary world in 2013 with the long-delayed publication of a retrospective collection  A Child in the Playground (BenAiganBooks – self-published).

     Contact Glenda – – for details of other work and check out her Facebook page:

She has spent the last 31 years in the northerly countryside in Scotland.]


Copyright © 2022 by Glenda George, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.