Lockdown 2020. A new anthology.

I am really pleased to mention that one of my poems, (Lockdown in our world | Where nothing has changed) has been
included in this wonderful anthology, Lockdown 2020.

My poem highlights my son’s experience of lockdown as someone with autism.

I am also very proud to mention that six writers from my online writing group {Chasing Brave} have their work featured in this volume as well!

This outstanding anthology features over 170 pieces of work from 89 writers and poets aged between 11 and 80, in 24 countries around the world (Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Cameroon, England, Greece, India, Israel, Kurdistan, Malta, Malawi, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Republic of Ireland, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, UAE, USA and Vietnam), all putting into poetry and short prose their thoughts, feelings and personal experiences living through isolation and surviving the coronavirus.

The book is available as a FREE PDF to download, or as book to purchase via Amazon.

http://www.lockdown2020.info/the-book/

Do take a look,

liezel

a meditation for my words.

may kind things,
honest things,
soft things,

things

that know

how to cut flesh
from gristle,

truth
from lie,

find their way past me,

as they climb up my throat
on strong, bare feet.

brave,
may they fly,
fall,

crawl, if they must.

find the hunger
find the holes.

the place
where everything
smells like giving up.

there,

may they be full.

enough.

one more day.

hope.

— a meditation for my words.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Aaron Burden.
{Unsplash}.

something that came to me this morning as i was meditating—blessing my words.

if your heart yearns to be a healer in any form, may this be for you.

liezel

then.

you watch for it, wait for it,
front door open, a hungry view
to the street below, the tree at the bottom of the garden, now full of a pink summer, a whole year has grown, and do you remember when love walked in on soft feet, floor boards creaking in the afternoon light, a second chance, your hands so full
of the newness, the choosing of you
over and over.

— then.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Noah Silliman.
{Unsplash}.

for e.g.

Image by Noah Silliman.
Unsplash.

how to love like heaven

all day i stay hidden.

hiding from the pain that climbed into my head whilst i was sleeping, settled itself comfortably behind my eye, an old foe and how familiar we are to each other, by now.

it settles a mood on me—grey, a storm fills my mouth, and what falls from my tongue has sharp edges, howls.

i try to shape my words carefully with soft hands, call them love, but

i fail.

i am not always what i want to be.

in the late afternoon, he bursts into my bedroom, climbs onto my lap, spills his long limbs all over me, his boy hands on my cheeks, eyes finding mine,

says

is your head sore, mom?
i think you are grumpy and cross because it hurts.
it’s ok.
i still love you.

all the things we have taught each other, always his eyes are on mine, searching for the way home, true north, grace.

his hands still full of all the things that smell like heaven.

— how to love like heaven.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Annie Spratt.
{Unsplash}.

Image by Annie Spratt.
Unsplash.

ken jy my

vertel vir my hier waar ons sit,

skaam

mekaar se vrees ontbloot.

flardes, flenters

gebruikte liefde, oud

en stukkend aan mekaar verkoop

as iets wat dit nie is nie,

nooit sal wees nie, nuut

en wit.

ongeskond.

ek en jy.

en ken jy die roep van die tarentaal

as die karoo son sak vir haar nag se dwaal

na die donker anderland.

en ken jy haar stem as sy weer

verlig, vlerke stukkend

terugkom,

na haar sterre dans?

— ken jy my?

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Foto deur Evie S.

Unsplash.

Foto Evie S.
Unsplash.

the secret life of things

at the bottom of the field which held my father’s crops,

the bees lived.

hives of faded wood hugged the river, owned the sun.

secret things happened here.

when the frames were full,
oozing,

he would harvest the warmth of summer.

forearms straining under the weight of a chipped enamel basin full of a season,

he would leave it on the kitchen table.

evidence

that hidden things eventually find their way to the light.

wax shaped, moulded into tight pieces,

stuffed into the furthest corners of my mouth,

honey filling the cracks of a childhood, dripping

from my lips.

evidence

that there was sweetness, too.

— the secret life of things.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Damien Tupinier.
{Unsplash}.

Today, is World Bee Day.

I remember the white wooden
hives at the bottom of our field.

I remember the chipped enamel basin full of summer’s sweetness.

liezel

Image by Damien Tupinier.
Unsplash.

womb | words with elizabeth

she tells me how she knocks on doors,
hungry
for a thing that she cannot
name,

only knows that it is familiar,
has

covered her with shame,

this fetal need, this

hand-me-down pain
from all the women before,

and

that it never leaves.

quietly gnaws its way
through her, and that

a mother is not formed
by labour, by

spilling blood, by

emptying.

sometimes there is no room
inside for anyone else, long
after

the cord is cut, the joy
grown old.

and

standing there,
nine years old, she is (still)

hoping for a place at the table, but

no,
like before.
and
like before,
no.

still,
she hopes,

never gives up.

what does that even mean,
she says.

give
up.

she has wrapped herself
in steelwool, pulls it

over her shoulders

every day
for all the moments that run

into a life, but

at night
she sheds it, knows

in the dark, in the quiet

she must soften
and
breathe, or

else, she will walk
with the same limp, hold

the same barbed wire
in her mouth.

she hopes, she says

that it is ok to feel this as loss,

that it is ok to mourn
every empty
plate

that was ever put before her.

knows, she was made for love.

made to be filled with it,
brimming over
until she groans with laughter

and

the fullness of it, sticking
to her heart, sticking
to her ribs,

all the roundness of it,
milk
in her veins, she has

tasted it once, maybe
twice before.

she remembers.

she was made for all of this.

knows,

she is allowed to hold out her hands,

cupped
with thirst,

cupped
with hunger.

made for eating love.

nothing else.

knows,

there is a womb with her name on it, but it is not here.

— womb | words with elizabeth.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Serafima Lazarenko.
{Unsplash}.