Taking the hint…

A dear friend who knows more about me as a writing person than anyone else, has issued a gentle challenge. Where are your poems, she asks? I remember some of them after…how many years is it?

Liverpool Waterfront and New Ferry Terminal

She’s referring to the time, 22 years ago, when she and I spent three glorious years in Liverpool, indulging our joint passions for writing and reading. And talking and laughing and, in my case, being a social butterfly with all its associated questionable habits. We were both mature students, taking our degrees after several years in other, unconnected professions. It was a heady freedom and we quickly bonded; not least because we both listened to The Archers, a habit which earned us a peculiar notoriety among our generally much younger student group.

Cath had a quiet enthusiasm which complimented my brasher, more showy approach. She had and still has, a thoughtful, intelligent approach to her writing which I can only dream of, but which has always influenced and inspired me.

We shared a dodgy flat in the second year and a lovely house with another friend in the third. We wrote, we read, we walked Cath’s gorgeous dog, Zoe, round Liverpool’s parks and above all, we talked. Oh, how we talked! No subject-stone was left unturned. I like to think now that there are parts of Kensington and Aigburth that still ring with our enthusiastic voices.

Liverpool images of Albert Dock

It was a special period in my life and undoubtedly my most prolific in terms of creative output. Cath has continued to write regularly, incorporating her skills into a new career as a tutor. (She writes a regular blog on here. Check her out, she’s great. Cath Humphris should find her).  I, on the other hand, have been sporadic to say the least. Continuing the butterfly analogy, I have the Aries tendency for poor staying power. The thrill of that new bloom is always an irresistible pull.

Never say never. I may have to accept that the novel is looking increasingly unlikely but I enjoy blogging, albeit infrequently, so maybe that will be my writing destiny.

Now, back to that challenge… encouraged as always by Cath, I’ll share a poem from those matchless Merseyside days.

For International Women’s Day and for you, Cath, with thanks…



not black or white,

not fat or thin,

just Woman.

not small or tall,

not dull or bright,

just Woman.

not sister, aunt,

not girl or wife,

just Woman.

not other half,

not light of life,

just Woman.




barmaids#students#guides on tours


not his or yours, 

not people’s friend,

just Woman.

now and always

in the end,

just Woman.


written April 1996, Liverpool









About rooboard

I am navigating the landscape of loss with words as my guide.
This entry was posted in Poems. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Taking the hint…

  1. helentrussell says:

    Wow, Liverpool is a city I have no knowledge of, no prejudices even and I look forward to visiting it soon. It must now be far-removed from its past, the slave trade wealth, the poverty, the Boardman Woman….

    I remember a couple of “mature students” when I was at college. They were both blokes but, unlike all the younger men, they were allowed to reside with us Women. As if….!

    Does writing have to be thoughtful and intelligent? Humorous and daft can do it for me. Will check out her blog. Like reading someone’s diary, but with their permission. What is your blog’s name?

    Love the poem.

    Thanks for sharing.

    ~ Woman empowered simply by giving herself permission to be

    ~ From Another




    • rooboard says:

      Ha! The Boardman woman; hopefully I did less damage than the slave trade! There’s a powerful museum at the dock, worth a visit. As is the Tate.
      Humorous & daft is definitely a genre of writing I relate to. But i need thoughtful & intelligent to keep me thinking.
      Empowered by our own permission; I like that.
      Thanks Helen x


  2. Barbara Hogg says:

    Brilliant as always my dear. I had no idea that you had been a ‘livelier’ bird in Liverpool!! Fun days I’m sure. I spent many a happy day around the Albert Dock when I lived near there., Wonderful shops and eateries!! Love the poem, and I know that there is a fabulous book waiting within you ……..


  3. Annie says:

    Superb writing Ruth. I have always admired your writing skills and the way you use words so brilliantly. Liverpool was certainly a joyous time for you. Love your poem. Lets see some more?. Continue to be inspired by life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cathum says:

    And I remember this one. Just woman indeed, an anthem for all of us.
    Those Liverpool days were glorious, weren’t they? The inspiration worked both ways, of course. Serious is all very well in small doses, but without some light relief it can become tedious. I’m with Helen, in seeing humour as a valuable tool.
    Isn’t it time you tried submitting some of your poems to a few places, after all these years languishing in a ‘cupboard’?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Maria Olsthoorn says:

    what a sweet piece of writing. I think that novel may still be on the cards. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. rooboard says:

    Thanks Maria xx


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