The Period Poem: the Ordinary and Extraordinary

The Period Poem, by Dominique Christina, is a masterpiece. Written for her daughter in response to a tweet from someone who expressed disgust at the idea of menstruation, it is an example of spoken poetry that is simply fantastic to hear read aloud. It’s a raw expression of righteous fury at the stigma in the world, from a mother’s perspective. But it’s also a beautifully worded and thought-out celebration of the act of menstruation, a love letter to what it means and the strength of menstruating people. Listening to it is an intensely validating experience, from the spectacular imagery to the low-level grumbling of real, down-to-earth frustrations many menstruators will sympathise with. Christina’s poem doesn’t only turn menstruation into something that can be loved, something beautiful – it turns it into something spiritual, powerful, and strong.

Anatomy in The Period Poem

Christina’s words are always kept grounded in reality. She explores the anatomy of periods through her words, but in an incredible way. Every scientific fact she presents is spun into something beautiful, something that seems bigger than the act of menstruation might actually be.

“Women have vaginas that can speak to each other and by this I mean, when we’re with our friends, our sisters, our mothers, our menstrual cycles will actually sync the fuck up. My own cervix is mad influential, everybody I love knows how to bleed with me.”

Menstruation can be messy, and it can hurt a lot, but it is a fact of life! And one she tries to see the positives in. Positives like a connection between herself and other menstruators, the necessity of that biological process for continued life – all of which she expresses beautifully. You can say that menstruation is needed for reproduction, or you can say “when your mother carried you, the ocean in her belly is what made you buoyant, made you possible.” One of them is certainly more impactful.

Blood, Love and Culture

The biology of menstruation is the baseline but the poeticisms are the beauty she layers onto it – and the points she makes are wonderful. A lot of literature is chock full of imagery of blood, cycles, regeneration, healing. Christina is not the first to connect these themes to menstruation in order to celebrate periods, but she does it beautifully. “Blood is the biggest siren, and we understand that blood misbehaves” – our culture gluts itself on metaphors of family lines, warriors, inheritance and other dozens of images that blood conjures.

“Etymologically, bless means to make bleed … In other words, blood speaks, that’s the message.”

This rich repository of shared imagery and associations that Christina draws on, she uses with effect. I felt so emotional while listening for the first time. Menstruation is, as I will continue to emphasise, an everyday, commonplace thing. But you can easily draw links through language and motifs to much grander themes in the stories we tell ourselves, and when Christina does so, she doesn’t just validate our experiences. She makes us the heroes of our own stories.

“And when you deal in blood over and over again like we do, when it keeps returning to you, well, that makes you a warrior.”

The Period Poem … and the Period Life

But the main reason that The Period Poem hits so hard is that it is true. None of the facts that Christina uses are wrong, none are unrelatable … and so none are easy to dismiss.

The poet has had periods. Most of the listeners have had periods. And those who have probably have at least one or two stories of unmitigated disaster from when the blood turned up unexpectedly. Blood interrupts our favourite white skirts, and shows up at dinner parties unannounced, blood will do that.” It will do that. That’s life, that’s life with menstruation and that is undeniably true.

But The Period Poem doesn’t bemoan it. It’s inconvenient – definitely! But not something to shake your head in disgust at. It is something that happens, something with a long history and a rich connection to poetry, art, and other forms of storytelling. We tell epic tales of the blood of battles and violence; this is the epic tale of the blood of regeneration and new growth. Menstruation is the blood as old as time.

“Just bleed anyhow, spill your impossible scripture all over the good furniture.”

What The Period Poem means

The Period Poem is stunning. I have made my thoughts on that clear. Its language is rich, Christina’s delivery is stellar, and it makes me gasp out loud and grin every time I listen to it. There is everything perfectly ordinary about our bodies, but that doesn’t mean there is nothing extraordinary, and that is what comes out in this poem. It is a ballad to the long tradition of menstruation, celebrating the simple facts about menstruating bodies and sensationalising them into something stunning. There is no shame in this poem – only pride.

The poem is a wonderful thing for anyone to hear, whatever your age or beliefs about your body. Its clear message is as bold and brilliant as it is simple: we must reject this shame. Even if you can’t celebrate menstruation, or do not feel comfortable doing so, there is no need to despise it. It is not disgusting. It is mundane. And it is spiritual. But whether it is an inconvenience, or something more powerful than we can understand, it is still ours.

And there is so much more art and poetry about periods out there! Here is a little poem mixtape!

The look into your cycle

Receive your digital workbook directly by email and learn about your menstrual cycle in 5 steps!
December 29, 2021
Ailsa wohnt in England und studiert Geschichte und Politik in Schottland. Sie verbringt ihre Zeit gerne mit Schreiben, Tagträumen und Gedanken über die Zukunft – insbesondere über Frauen und LGBT-Menschen in allen drei.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our reading tips for you

Britta dancing

Nur für kurze Zeit

10% Gutschein auf alle Online-Kurse!

Britta dancing
Egal ob Menstruation, Zyklus, Sexualität, Kinderwunsch, Yoga oder Elternschaft – Erhalte deinen persönlichen Rabatt-Gutschein auf die Online-Kurse deiner Wahl.