On things that are important

this is not for every tender body that happens to walk into my words today, but it is for some soft body, somewhere, and you will know if it fits the shape of the hollow inside your chest, and i want you to sit here at my kitchen table, just move the books, and the embroidery thread, there you go, and here, let me pour you a cup of tea, and how is your heart, does it want to weep often, does it still know how to stretch lazily, a happy cat, and when you woke up this morning was hope a small, dead bird already cold inside your mouth, and did you too have to pull yourself from sleep to keep someone alive, and there are many ways in which we are lifeboats, and did you look around at what everyone else is doing, at what they are achieving, at how they are pushing, pushing, pushing themselves into the spaces that you so would like to inhabit, but you are tired, and there are things that demand your seconds, and your minutes, and your hours, and all the sapling dreams that you plant, over and over and over, and who knew how fast a small tree can die for lack of attention, and water, and time, and you are caught, suspended in the things you want to say, and write, and create, and send out into the world, but also, here we have all the soft bodies that need you, that depend on you for water, and for food, and for clean clothes, and you need to teach them how to say the word ‘dream’, and they need vitamins a and d and c, and they need to be hugged and loved and held so close, and they need to be kept safe, and taken to playdates, and to swimming, and they have a million-and-twenty questions, and there was a time that you thought you could do it all, and stretch yourself rubbery from one body to another and still find your way home to your own country, the wild one inside your head, the one that greens itself untended behind your eyes, and threaded through every dream you have ever held safely wrapped in cotton wool since you were five lies the seeds of the things you have been given, and here, may i tell you something that i am learning at night, in the dark midnight hours, there is nothing in your life that is more important than the bodies that you have been planted with, that need you right now, none of your work, nothing you create, or write, or paint, or sing, or dance, is more important than breathing a beautiful and kind life into a small body, into a sick body, into a body-that-your-body-knows-so-well-but-now-their-body-has-forgotten-and-you-are-the-mother-and-the-father, all the love that you heap onto plates, so their bodies won’t need to look for help one day, just to look their life in the eye and be able to say ‘i love my body, i love my life, i love what i have been given’, and this is a tremendously big task, an ever-shifting mountain, but a man once said that even mountains can throw themselves into the sea, but perhaps he also meant that they might only crumble pebble by pebble, and this kind of throwing happens over minutes and hours and days and long, long years, and you might want to give up, please don’t, and you might have to go back and do things over and over and over, because your life needs rest and sleep, and you might be told that what you have is unimportant, and always remember that there are voices that will tell you what to believe, please ignore them, and they will tell you that there are things-that-need-to-be-done-so-that-you-will-feel-fulfilled and this is important, don’t get me wrong, you have gifts, and gifts, and gifts, and a secret life of veils and hidden things, and the world is hurting and there is tender work to be done, and you will do it, but you cannot do it all, your life will crumble under this weight, perhaps even grow sour like old milk, so listen to me, nothing is more important than the soft bodies with which you are planted, everything else has been done before, and everything else will be done again, even right now someone is doing exactly what you want to do, and maybe even taking from you and shaping it into their own, and this hurts, but lovely-heart-sitting-at-my-table know they cannot really take what you have, because you are a voice that they will never really know and they will spend their life searching for something in others, when really they need to come home to themselves, so you look after you, know that there are others with seasons different to yours, and even if you die today, in five minutes only ever having made the world a more gentle place for one person, then already you have done holy work, and there are many things that i do not know, and many conversations that i have been uninvited from, but from my life a long time ago, i know that nothing tastes more like love, than being seen, and being held safe, and nothing feels like clean hair, and clean bodies, and a warm, soft bed with clean sheets, and how a pot of soup is a miracle in the bones, and someone might come home tired from work and you can say here, i made you this with my own life, my own time, and this is how i can love you today, and i have books inside of me, but they will wait for a little while longer, and you might also worry about how to feed those mouths, but also know this, worry eats too, and it is never satisfied, and fear is a voice that stills all the others, and all that i know is that somehow, it all works out, and all the kind things find me, all the wonder knows my name, so do what you can with what you have, close the doors to the things that chase you, that cause you to feel that you are not enough, because this is not all there is, but it is what it is for now, and this is not for every tender body that happens to walk into my words today, but it is for some soft body, somewhere, and you will know if it fits the shape of the hollow inside your chest. you will know if it is you. you are enough. rest in this.

© Liezel Graham 2022.

{image by Roma Kaiuk on Unsplash}

this is for some soft body out there. i hope it finds you.

2 thoughts on “On things that are important

  1. evidently I am one of those soft bodies, with 3 dogs and 7 cats, all pulled from the street, a mother who forgets sometimes, a house to clean, a garden I long to tend, and a thousand poems I need to write about my sister who died last March without saying goodbye. yes, I believe I am one of those who needed to hear this little message/song of common hope.


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