Poetry: The Call.

I didn’t know how much disappointment I would have to exchange in order to finally eat the light.

If I had known that ‘change’ was a dirty word and that ‘ideas in my head’ could be a curse, would I have given myself a ‘yes’? Would I have picked it up from the floor where it had been discarded over and over again?

Disappointment is a powerful force when it is fed to you—even more powerful when it claws at the inside of your head every night when you try to fall asleep, and fear? Don’t get me started on fear. If you allow it to, it will live inside your bones and it will own your name for the rest of your life.

Here’s what I know—that the weight of what I want is too heavy in my arms. A new life? Such a cliché, isn’t it? We want what we want, but the price is almost always a walking away.

I have had years of my own voice echoing inside my heart, knowing that so much of what I once believed—so much of what I was taught to be truth, had dents in it, holes rusted right through—couldn’t stand up to the light.

Rotten. It smelled off.


Of course, I knew there would be loss—knew I would have to leave the borders of this place that I had known my entire life to be where I was supposed to stay, where I was expected to allow my roots to twist into that of the life that I was given. This life that I was not ever supposed to stray from, but see? I have always had questions—so many questions, and questions are wrong if their answers are not the same as those I was given.

Rebellious little things they are—questions. They make a woman unteachable.


Makes her want to write her name on the walls of rooms she does not belong in.


I knew there would be grief for me.

And for them.

I just didn’t know how much.

I didn’t know that freedom would also taste like loss.

I didn’t know that loss could also taste like freedom.

…that only I would recognise the way it filled my mouth.

— The call

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Ales Me


A few days ago, I was privileged to be on a writing workshop hosted by Laura Lentz. The speakers were poet, Ellen Bass and author, Christina Baker Kline.

Ever so slightly out of my depth, I had to craft a piece in response to a prompt which focused on ‘the call’ and how at times we refuse to heed the message that we receive to find what makes us feel alive, at peace, creative, owning the space and the life that we want for ourselves.

This is my response to that prompt.

Toko-pa Turner, in her beautiful book, Belonging. Remembering ourselves home, talks of a ‘false belonging’ and how there is always loss when leaving something that you can no longer fully express as your truth.

I highly recommend this book if you are in a place where you know you no longer fully feel at home in, whether metaphorically or geographically or spiritually.

We all have a place where we find our truth and if it is honest, real and raw—it seldom looks like anything that belongs to someone else.


Image by Ales Me on Unsplash,

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