Not A Superwoman


"Not a superwoman. Just a single mum."

Writer Lesley Traynor reads a storming poem about the things she has achieved, as an "ordinary" woman. 

Lesley Traynor is a novelist, poet, filmpoetry maker and award winning spoken word artist. She is widely published, including several national anthologies, as well as internationally. Her recent film work was screened at Celtic Connections and Wigtown Spring Literary festival.  She founded Women With Fierce Words, a collective of women writers passionate about supporting other women have a voice. Their sell out anthology has been shared on BBC radio and as part of World Community Arts Day and International Women's Day.

She is a committee member of the Federation of Writers (Scotland) and member of Scottish Writers' Centre.


Transcript below:

I am not Superwoman


Single mother.

Classed as trash.

Written off by the Government.

Went back to work when babies only twelve weeks old; 

but still. 

Not Superwoman, just a single mum


Drove children to clubs, fixed broken boilers, leaking gutters, picked up children.

Not the school run.

Read Harry Potter with my children. 

Studied the Readers Digest Manual.

Wrote a novel, like another single mum.

I wasn't Superwoman, just a single mum.


My father walked ten miles every day, then fell. 

Motor Neurone Disease. 

No Superwoman could cure that! 

Then this woman fell. 

Fell down through ladders that skimmed the high cornice, 

false in their security. 

Concrete absorbed conscientiousness, 

absorbed the power to walk and speak. 

A cruel mimic of what had killed a father;

but this was no disease. 

Superwoman! Felled!


Pace of life slowed to a shuffle, 

communication faltered,

a challenge to follow a thought, 

form words that forbade pity. 

Life is short, became the new mantra. 


Within a locked world, 

I walked a past life. Ethiopia.

Found a path through that war torn country, 

one trod without fear. 

I survived. 


I taught myself to walk, to talk,

creativity flowed. The written word, art, film. 

Publications, exhibitions, commissions.

No barriers. 

How many other women fought the Gatekeepers? 


2016, Edinburgh Fringe.

Called for women to read their work on the street.

Speak their truth, their way. 

No censorship, no self- censorship. 

No barriers.


Women With Fierce Words; 

a sisterhood of writers. 

Their Fierce word, one that empowered;

a signpost for others to find their Fierce word, 

their voice.

We are all Superwoman.