Soothe the child

and perhaps on a day like today when the air is full of moisture as it does the work of holding the grey presence of the sky from climbing inside your head, perhaps you will see that the smallest thing can be a ritual, a small pause where you might unexpectedly (because you have had to teach yourself these ways and this is a new thing that you are climbing so willingly into) say to the name of your great great grandmother, ‘i know that you are there and i have seen your photograph and you look as if you were stitched together from kindness and butter and cinnamon, and here i am, if you can see me, here i am, and i am holding your name in my mouth, i am here, i am here, i am here, show me where it hurts and let me help’, and everything that you have found outside in the wilds of this world that you have been given a presence in, all that you have seen with all of your eyes, and you have many, and all that you have heard with all of your ears, and they are so sharp, so open, like the mouth of a well, all of these things had to be carried home in your pockets, and in your handbag, and in the little pocket beneath the waistband of your denims; the little pocket made for coins, but a piece of blue sea glass is worth so much more, and how you laid them all out on the back of a blue-and-white plate, even the little bone of something that once-had-breath-but-doesn’t-anymore, and how you ate all the orphan treasures with your mouth that has always been hungry for stories; for knowing how the inner secrets of mammals are pinned together, and how you tucked them away deep inside the walls of your own self, and oh! we are all such different bodies, such vastly different inner worlds, how could we think that even the sight of an oak tree in the middle of the forest would mean the same to each of us, how you might see a tree and think back on much you loved biology, about that time a friend sat net to you and shared a secret on thumb-stressed paper with you, all the whilst there was a lesson on metamorphosis unfolding at the blackboard, pay attention! beyond the skin and bone and cells, there is mystery being shown to you, how a thing can change into something new, over and over, and i in turn, at the presence of the oak, might stop to talk to its leaves, taking back home with me a message to hold onto as i make toast and soup, how we are all heart and hurt and fear and hope and joy all in different lives, and how knowing yourself and the stories of your ancestors, will show you how the messages are simply everywhere, how they wait to be seen, how if you call to them with your curious and respectful voice, they will all slowly come out from where they have been living in the other worlds, their small bodies stripped of what is no longer important, the daily minutiae of a hundred years ago, but how they have held onto the pain of a baby who died without ever having received a name, or a marriage that broke, and was rebuilt, even after several years, it can happen, these things unfolded, and unfold, and will unfold, whether we are brave enough to turn our gaze to them, or not, and how they are quietly waiting to make themselves known to you, and how, later when you sit with your cup of tea, you might find yourself furrowing fields behind your eyes, might find yourself searching for wounds to heal, might find yourself knitting covers for all the holes; even stitching words to say in the midnight hours, how the healing will find its way back through the damp air, to where all the bones are dry and waiting to be seen. you might do all of this on an ordinary Monday afternoon, even before you peel the potatoes for dinner, even after you dust behind the lamp on the table in the hall, how the sacred will find you if you call to it, listen to me! don’t give up, search for it, you curious seeker, search for it, you healer of hurts.

© Liezel Graham 2022

{ 📷 red thread on linen and words that keep demanding to be stitched}

I have, for a while now, been working through the lives of my ancestors and it has been a profound experience; the searching and the asking, even beyond the realms of what is available to me here on this earth through records and technology, how there are stories unfolding and how there is healing, even across the centuries, even before the potatoes are peeled for dinner, the sacred walks in and sits down, relieved to finally be heard, all the second chances finally breathing.