faith | new names from old.

black birds flying darkly

up

and

down

the spine of my life.

i give them names

that sound like light.

faith

falling

brazenly

from my mouth.

— faith | new names from old.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photograph by Matti Johnson.

Sometimes the black birds of fear, shame and guilt will fly up and down your life… they like to go far back into your past and remind you of all the reasons you have failed. They like to fly into your future and prophecy that things will never work out; that you are not deserving of the things your heart dreams of.

You might listen to what they whisper.

But you don’t have to.

Give them new names—new names from the old ones.

Handmade names that sound like light.

For all the things that you are hoping for, let faith fall brazenly from your mouth.

liezel

may all your days be honest, and may you be honest about all your days.

i have carried a young poem

in my hands for days

now, but

in this year

where i have had to

strike rocks in the desert

just to taste a drop of water,

i have nothing left to make it

holy,

these words in my cupped hands.

nothing to dress it up with.

somewhere

between march

and

september,

i ran out of gold,

frankinscense

and

myrrh.

but still,

this poem wants life,

wants to bring red velvet hope

where there is straw, and

a friend said

to me,

as i undressed my heart,

have a gentle christmas,

and

may it be honest.

so i am holding this up,

instead.

this word.

honest.

lifting it high above my life tonight,

like a star.

a compass.

not merry.

not bright.

but a light,

nonetheless.

— may all your days be honest, and may you be honest about all your days.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photography by Annie Spratt.

sharing a little freeform writing with you on this eve before christmas.

if this year was hard for you—mine has been—losing both my gran and my brother in the space of a couple of months, knocked the wind right out of me, and if you are missing the breath of people you love, if you have lost a part of yourself, or if you have no idea how tomorrow, or next year will look…

then i wish you a gentle, honest christmas.

it doesn’t have to be merry.

it doesn’t have to be bright.

may all your days be honest, and may you be honest about all your days.

know that you are loved,

liezel

my deepest thanks to my beautiful friend, Lisa, for giving me the gift of an honest christmas.

unwrapped.

i made you a gift

with my own hands, and

from all the parts of me

that have

no name

but they live in the dark places

where love grows, and

i watched

as you held it in your hands

for a moment

i was still

and then you put it down

on the table

with the empty coffee mugs

and yesterday’s news, and

i hope that you will find it there

when you look for it

later.

— unwrapped.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photography by Annie Spratt.

…let’s be brave with each other,

but let’s be gentle with what we are given.

some gifts have no receipt attached.

liezel

audiobooks and spotify. yes, or no?

Please talk to me about audio books, streaming and cd’s.

Would you be interested in an audiobook of poems, or a cd?

Do you use streaming platforms such as Spotify?

Any thoughts on a theme, or content for something like this?

Lastly, would you have a preferred accent for the narrator, or would you enjoy the poems if I read them personally?

For those who don’t know, I have a South African accent with a wee bit of Scottish flavour 😉

Thank you, lovely people!

There are some exciting things happening in the new year,

liezel

Photograph by Hannah Timms.

a hungry heart is a dangerous thing.

being loved, and

being used for love.

both taste the same

to a hungry heart.

— a hungry heart is a dangerous thing.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photograph by Laurent Perren.

#TeachYourDaughters

#TeachYourSons

those of us who have grown up hungry for love, hungry for acceptance, hungry for belonging… we struggle to know the difference between real love and being used for love.

and sometimes, even when we know deep down in our gut that this is not what it should be, we still stay… because hunger is a powerful force.

teach your daughters and teach your sons, to know the difference and to learn to love themselves enough to know when what they are being given, is not enough.

liezel

this poem is from my book, Stripped.

https://www.amazon.com/Liezel-Graham/dp/1708221328

after the scalpel.

for a few days

after

a surgeon takes a scalpel

to my body,

i am forced

to grow

still.

i am not made for this.

i fight

to move

to stand up

to change my life

without needing any help.

there are mountains to climb

and a valley

to find my way out

of.

it hurts.

they said it would

take

time

that i do not know how to give.

but every slow-gold afternoon

after we have had our lunch

and

after i have filled my pockets

with plans,

my son carries his pillow,

blankets,

bears.

into my room

where he climbs

onto my bed,

curls up

softly

into the roundness of my hip

the quiet place that

only he knows

as home.

i am this

to him.

still.

his breath warm on my shoulder,

a whisper

…isn’t this nice, mom?

— after the scalpel.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photography by Annie Spratt.