Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Courage and Integrity

Waiting for the shoe to drop

Or not.

Holding my breath
Never did get me very far

I know because my body
Told and tells me so

Caught in endless cycles
Of butting heads

I’ve learned the hard way
That my head

Is very hard indeed while
My ability

To concede with graceful
strength and courage

Was sorely lacking in my
self-education project

Undertaken from the moment
Of my birth until

Today I woke up breathing
Deeply knowing

Your life-giving breath is better than
A thousand choke holds

While waiting for the shoe to drop
Or not

Mary Oliver’s “Of The Empire” couldn’t have been written had she not chosen decades earlier to leave home in order to save her one precious life.

A pattern runs through my life like an unnamed theme-song. Do your best to please those in authority, without giving up your integrity.

Not that this is a bad skill. It got me through many touch-and-go encounters. Integrity is important. But when it’s only skin deep, there comes a time when the wound is too great to bear.

I think Mary Oliver understood this much earlier than I.

Even my sisters understood this, each in her own way. All they did was see what didn’t work for Elouise, and then do something else. As often as needed. Sometimes with seemingly harmless humor or deference. Other times with defiant behavior that screamed for safety and space to breathe deeply without fear.

Will I ever reach the promised land? I don’t know. I do know this point in our shared history is an opportunity I don’t want to miss. It isn’t just about me anymore. It’s about each and all of us.

With thanks to Mary Oliver, family members and friends who’ve shown me a better way.

Elouise

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 May 2020
Image found at theproductivewoman.com

Slippery words

Slippery words fly through hot air
Smiles and flourishes promise happy days ahead –
But at what cost and for whom?

Another committee ‘collaborates’ behind closed doors –
Working toward freedom and justice for all?
Or for the chosen few. . . .

What would it take to halt double-speak
about things that touch all our lives?
Are we willing to pay that price?

Imagine our nation shaped by listening
rather than speaking loudest or longest –
Do we have the guts to go there?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 15 May 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Collaboration

They shut me up in Prose —

bird-flying-free

In this somewhat grimly humorous poem, Emily compares her childhood as a ‘little Girl’ with the way ‘They’ treat her as an adult. My comments follow.

They shut me up in Prose –
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet –
Because they liked me “still’ –

Still! Could themselves have peeped –
And seen my Brain – go round –
They might as wise have lodged a Bird
For Treason – in the Pound –

Himself has but to will
And easy as a Star
Abolish his Captivity –
And Laugh – No more have I –

c. 1862

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

What a great word — ‘still.’ Read the rest of this entry »

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