The International Leicester Literary Review in the United Kingdom has published the latest poem by our Rainy Day Healing’s Poet in Residence, Georgian poet Tamar Zhghenti.

‘War has a Woman’s Face’ is dedicated to the victims and survivors of Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine and elsewhere.

She attended the launch of The International Leicester Literary Review 2024 at Fox Books in November 2023.



     War has a woman’s face
When men commit all the bestialities that can only be committed by men:
Blood will be kneaded with semen,
Soft throats stuffed, baby hymens ripped,
Gentle clover-like members abraded,
Delicate bosoms gashed, tender tummies slit open,
War will then take a woman’s face,
A face of a mad mother.

The wet face, lips chapped, cheeks sunken,
Red eye-sockets, eyelids swollen,
Scratched temples, flushed and dishevelled,
Blank stare nailed on the wall,
Mouth warped with an eerie smile.

War takes a mother’s face, a shaking face.
And with one hand, she holds her child tightly to her chest,
With the other – she opens a vial,
“- just two droplets, my baby, and we’ll go to sleep awhile.”

Then madly covers still chubby cheeks with kisses –
Her dripping tears damp the zephyr-like skin, small fingers.
” – Fear no more, baby,” – She’ll whisper.
And heedless of the innocent questions, will part her child’s lips…

War has exactly a woman’s face, though not at the start, but later –
When men commit all the atrocities that only men are capable of.

International organisations,
We, the war mothers, understand your sacred caution,
Your measured support, your rational fears,
And we no longer make pleas for membership of your powerful blocs,
Nor do we request troops or guns,
No more humanitarian aid, no refugee status.
There is but one thing we ask:
Deliver a vial for every household.

So that when they, the bloody-eyed, the muddy-booted,
They who stink of sweat and vodka,
Break into our peaceful homes,
And one of them beats us with buttstock,
Another ties us up and kicks us down,
The third pulls out our fingernails,
The fourth pulls out our teeth,
The fifth unbuckles his belt and others
Loosen their greasy uniforms,
And unzip their pants to make us watch
How zealously they consume
the purest flesh, the weakest bones…
Before soldiers have done all the filth only men are capable of,
Angels must die.

Saintly sitting on mothers’ laps,
Angels must die in their mothers’ arms.
Gently leaned on mothers’ chests,
Mothers’ hands should close their clear eyes.

Therefore, we, the weary mothers of war, implore you,
International organisations, alliances and unions,
Please! Send us the children’s doses of cyanide or arsenic, or
Whatever is at hand,
Only be it the fastest-acting and the deadliest of them all,

Be assured, this is a real help,
Unlike your sanctions or standing ovations.
This will bring the peace.

So we, the moaning mothers, beg you,
Spare the innocents and let us kill our kids,
For the last thing our babies taste
Better be a poison rather than a rancid excrescence.
Please, please!
Give us the millions of poison vials
To rescue our children
From men’s beastly vile.


Tamar Zhghenti and Tim Grayson, editor of The International Leicester Literary Review



Tamar Zhghenti, the Rainy Day Healing poet in residence, has provided us with two new poems after a successful debut writer’s tour in her homeland Georgia in April 2023.

The tour of her debut poetry collection included a radio interview, two national television broadcasts, two poetry evenings, and an announcement in the list of three selected poetry books at the Tbilisi Book Fair.

Her poetry was presented in the Georgian language, and the English version of two of her poems are presented here. The first poem, “Niqab and Burca, compulsory” was written to support women in Iran after the murder of Mahsa Amini for not wearing a Niqab properly. The second poem, “Brainchild or How to Bear in Mind” is an intensely personal message to self.


Niqab and Burca, compulsory

(in memory of Mahsa Amini)

You are the dusk.

The arc of the new moon in the night sky

Is the eye-revealing cut in your headscarf,

Piercing the darkness of your cover.

The owner has mercifully left this narrow cut unsealed

So that you remain his shadow

But don’t altogether become

A pillar of uncomfortable gloom.

Or, maybe it’s just a means of control:

To oversee your gazes, to watch who you see and where you look.


You sit before me like a bonfire in a deep wood –

Your eyes glow like burning embers,

While from a distance, you look like an onyx brooch

Or a black jet safety pin, worn to ward off the evil eye.

If only you could unfasten and fall off,

Or pierce your owner’s heart with your sharp end!


I see you standing on the bridge

Above the bubbling brook and the bright green meadow.

And the folds of your black dress fly like a flock of swallows.

Then the man shouts at you –

In a sleeveless shirt, shorts and sandals, he points at your cover

Asking to fix a fold at your shoulder.

You obey.

Very much enjoying your silence,

He takes a photo-camera and starts shooting you.

Oh, god, is he eager! Desperate to take good shots,

Fervently giving instructions on how to pose.

The heavy contrast between you and the surroundings gratifies him dearly –

He clicks his tongue and the camera button

And praises you

For looking so gorgeous – you, his black orchid,

His beautiful spouse.

You stand there – like an ebony pawn on the final rank

Almost promoted to a queen.

But alas! Just then, the blacks are checkmated.


The man keeps shooting you

Beside a palm, holding a rose.

And in these photos, you must seem merry and grateful

For the blessed narrow cut –

Thanks to which, you are still recognisable,

More or less

(At least your nearest can tell it’s you).

Unlike many unlucky women,

Who, by less merciful “photographers”

Are turned into the walking murk, the wingless ravens,

The unidentifiable,

Covered with blackness from head to toe.

And that it is them,

Is known to themselves alone.

You are the dusk, the twilight.

And they are the nightfall.

Their ebony or agony stain darker than yours.

Brainchild or How to Bear in Mind

My dear self, you may never forgive me for

Treating you like a wretched child,

Adopted by a foster parent

But never adequately loved.

So, it happens sometimes –

A mother is barren for years,

And right after she adopts,

She conceives her own.

That is our story, my self.

When we met, you were already born

And needed care and cuddle, so

I took pity on you:

Started rearing you – fed you,

Walked you, washed you, gave pills to soothe,

I dried your tears and cut your hair,

Taught you how to sleep alone.

What else should a parent do?

But then, all out of the blue,

THEY appeared.

They who suddenly seemed to be

So painfully more exciting

Compared to you, my dear self.

They had it, what you lacked – the thrill,

The courage, the whim, the flow.

And I welcomed their supremacy.

The perfection of those strangers

Dazzled me and touched my guts,

I felt flawless beginnings -new embryos of love!

Sweet, delicate movements inside,

Joyous restlessness of mind.

I’d become impregnated with them –

Those handsome, wholesome, awesome ones.

You, constantly put aside, were left to observe

How I collected new

Clothes and toys, new dreams and hopes

Not for you but for someone else.

Oh, how solemnly I prepared

For the births of those conceptions!

How awfully I needed another, and never you,

My ever-present self.

So, I guess, you’ll never forgive me.

But at least you could find some joy

In witnessing my deadly labours.

You can celebrate and cherish

The countless miscarriages, disasters,

Thanks to which you now remain

My only child – my self, thereafter.



Tamar Zhghenti: Facebook

Martina Nicolls RAINY DAY HEALING: Rainy Day Healing




Tamar Zhghenti, the internationally recognized Georgian poet, has graciously accepted to be the Rainy Day Healing inaugural Poet in Residence.

Georgian-born and now residing and studying English Language and Literature in England, Tamar Zhghenti is a poet, medical graduate, and English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. She is the co-founder of two former youth literary clubs in Georgia, a playwright for the Theatre Higia of the Tbilisi State Medical University, and a member of the international musical theatre project, “Keats the Musical.”

Tamar Zhghenti and I (Martina Nicolls) have presented papers at two international William Shakespeare conferences (one on medicine in Shakespeare’s plays and one on the bard’s depiction of ageing) and two international James Joyce conferences (one on the Paris residences of James Joyce and one on the influence of Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in contemporary music). The conferences, in Tbilisi, were hosted by the Tbilisi State University and the Georgian American University.

Since 2022, her poems have been published in Georgian periodicals, with her poem “Soldier” selected for the Georgian-Ukrainian anthology Sow the Wheat, Ukraine published in the German language by Klak Verlage, Berlin, 2022. She won the title of Special Guest in the international spoken word poetry competition, “Antibabylon.” Together, we continue to work on the English translation of Alexandre Kazbegi’s iconic 1884 novel Khevisberi Gocha.

In April 2023, the English translation of her poem “War has a woman’s face” is published in the United Kingdom in the annual print book of the Leicester Literary Review. Also in April 2023, Intelekti Publishing in Tbilisi, Georgia, is releasing her debut poetry collection called Gulp down the sun.

With a rich background in medicine and the cultural arts, Tamar Zhghenti is perfect as Poet in Residence for Rainy Day Healing.

I proudly present two of her most recent poems, “Revelation” and “Solo” – both shortlisted in the 20-30 age category in the South Yorkshire Hive Young Writers’ Competition 2022/2023.





You deserve to know this, and here is the truth:

It was born neither during a celebration in a crowded square,

Nor during execution on the scaffolds.

It wasn’t given birth by a lump in one’s throat

Nor by a blissful teardrop.

It wasn’t born while looking at the opened cage,

Nor when the dungeon door closed,

Hard to accept, but it wasn’t born in the face of inevitable death

Or in the wake of a miraculous cure.

Certainly not before or after the war.

The ultimate sacrifice is no parent to it,

And it is no child to a huge gain too.

It wasn’t born in high hills or by the ocean.

Climbing the peak has nothing to do with it,

Nor has hitting rock bottom.

Freedom as a desire was born

In your room, at your place,

When overwhelmed with chores,

You chose to sit down instead,

Looked out of the window and thought,

It was high time to set everything aside and recall

Why, as a little child,

You laughed in the wind and ran from bush to bush.


So fervently I yearn to perish

As if I were a bored immortal, sick of eternity.

In the meanwhile, the truth in the night sky is scattered:

“Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter.”

Here it is! The first photo from the Webb space telescope –

A cozy glasshouse of unknown galaxies.

The light never captured before, the sight never-before-seen.

“Great, Kid. Don’t get cocky.”

What of it, though? Conquer it or be conquered by it, at the very most!

As if we ever cared for more than a conquest of new worlds.

Oh, how zealously we’d start the star wars!

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

There are days, when I feel pretty self-disgusted, you know?

I start to curse those naive outbursts when I wish to die

Be it before a deadline or after an unresponded call,

Or while breastfeeding my baby again and again at night;

Or for a cancelled flight, for an uncooked dinner…

“A thousand generations live in you now. But this is your fight.”

Goodness, gracious! I’ve been hungry for death as if it were a juicy dumpling –

If only I could bite and slurp it!

Oh, silly me! – Forgive me, forgive me – I start to howl –

What the hell did I ever want?

Let the sea swallow it all, let the fire consume it all,

Let it all be reduced to ashes after me!

O, what an ass am I! What a shame it is to cease to exist!

How do people allow themselves to die? Never and never!

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for!”

What is it to become of the universe without me?

If I’m dead, how can they survive – The Great Bear, The Little Bear?

Do people honestly believe the stars don’t care about us?

Take a look at the telescope picture of the doomed star then –

Doesn’t it look like the ocean erupted through a volcano?

The colours of ash and fire surround the watery blue.

Doesn’t this picture remind you of the floating dots in your newborn’s eyes?

Congratulations, you’re being rescued.”

Oh, come on! Please, spare me the teaching on

How vast the space is and how tiny human beings are!

The universe was made to let me be and to let you be –

That’s what the cosmos, the bright odyssey written on a dark palimpsest, was made for.

Yes. The universe continuously expands

Just to save the human being, this stubborn cosmic moth,

From burning its wings of earthly reason on celestial flames.

“You must unlearn what you have learned”…

So fervently I yearn to live forever,

As if I were a mortal being with inevitable doom ahead.

When in fact, there’s a photographed truth on a platter:

We are luminous creatures and not this primitive matter.

“May the force be with us!”

Tamar Zhghenti: Facebook

Martina Nicolls RAINY DAY HEALING: Rainy Day Healing



Rainy Day Healing blogs – MAKING MY PEACE

Tamar Zhghenti and Martina Nicolls, London 2018


Tamar Zhghenti and Martina Nicolls, London 2018
Tamar Zhghenti