Every woman.

I love this beautiful image of my poem, shared on Instagram by psychologist, Dr Heidi Green.

This poem and the theme of generational and personal healing, is the theme of my first volume of poetry that I hope to release in May!

I shall share the name of the book a wee bit closer to the time, but for now I am selecting just the right poems to include in the volume and I hope that it will be a book that will be a companion to anyone seeking to heal themselves of hurts and trauma, both past and present.

going home.

it has almost been a week.

almost seven days without you.

almost seven days of not being able to call you and hear you say my name.

this afternoon i lay down on the floor. wrapped in a blanket and my tears, i went home.

to you.

the garden gate still squeaks on its hinges and i stumbled on that crack in the front path.

how many times have i tripped there?

there was rain-water in the metal drum where i used to play as a child, and tadpoles. how i loved the tadpoles. do you remember?

the light on the purple jacaranda tree was full of bees.

you would like that, and the front porch was freshly polished; red and shiny.

the old front door knew my face.

knew that i too, belong, and even though i did not want them to, all the memories that are now part of my bones, came out to play. tenderly, they touched my face and my tears, or was that you?

was that you.

and you were everywhere.

down the stone stairs into the kitchen, i walked and i saw bowls of hot pea soup and my fingers frozen from a night watching shows at the fringe.

do you remember how much i loved the arts festival?

how i would spend winter nights walking through the streets, eating the colour and the sounds and the sights.

only to return to you.

my compass.

and in the back garden, the lemon tree stood there. wondering where you are.

and i said, she is here, and she is not.

and my heart does not know what to do.

can i just sit here for a little bit longer?

here, by the kitchen window where the late afternoon light likes to sneak in.

this has always been my favourite spot.

here, with you, drinking warm cups of tea, i could see forever.

and every hurt was wrapped in kitchen-love.

and it was all that i ever needed.

this rich, never-ending love.

and you are here, but you are not.

how can this be.

— going home.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

This afternoon, after a quiet, but tearful half-an-hour of meditation, I took a walk.

And somewhere between here, and not, I walked down my Ouma’s garden path and found her old house full of her and me and other lovely things that I have stored in my bones.

And it was good.

where i find holiness. where i am enough.

i have tried

to carve (your) rules

into the back of my eyes,

.

so that i might belong.

.

but

an owl

is calling

outside my

bedroom window,

. a sacred,

nocturnal song.

.

and

in

this

holiness

there is nothing wrong

with me.

.

— where i find holiness. where i am enough.

.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

.

Photograph by Eberhard Grossgasteiger.

things to do when you are grieving.

on a sunny morning

in

the

middle

of my grief,

we stumble upon a new playground.

swings and roundabouts,

seesaws

and

margery-daws, and

push

me

higher

mom, and

suddenly

young laughter

making funny faces

at all of this sadness.

how beautifully life carries on.

— things to do when you are grieving.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photograph by Levi Damasceno.

musings on grief.

when you have lived your

whole life,

whole and at peace,

in one place.

does the soil remember you?

.

the old plum tree in the

back garden,

heavy with pink promise.

will she miss the sound of your voice, too?

.

and the gnarled jacaranda

on the front path,

blushing brazen purple every spring.

will she long to feel your hands

as night begins to sing?

.

and then,

there is more.

.

there is you

and

there is me

and

there is

this love.

.

this

love.

.

what about this?

i wonder,

will it remember

us?

.

—musings on grief.

.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

.

Photograph by Irina Iriser.

.

.

My Ouma lived her whole life in the same small town in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

.

She spent most of her married life and after my Oupa died, in the same house. A house that she adored.

.

There is an old plum tree that bears masses of sweet plums and a gnarled jacaranda tree that covers the front garden with a carpet of purple blossom every spring.

.

This old house and garden have been a part of my life ever since I can remember.

.

Today’s poem is more free-form musing than poetry, but I hope it speaks to someone else who might be on the same journey as me.

.

My heart is much lighter since Sunday when my Ouma left us and I have a great deal of peace,

.

liezel

the first day of grief.

has it been a day, yet, or

forever?

i cannot tell.

time has died for me,

as well.

i shall look for you everywhere,

today

and

thereafter,

until.

and when the grief is too much,

i play Bach

and

i get lost in a forest of cellos.

but i can’t linger here,

i must think of practical things like library books and what’s-for-lunch-Mom and

does-Nana-have-wings-now?

on the outside, they keep me upright when my inside,

is fractured.

you have gone

to i-don’t-know-where,

or,

as we like to call it,

heaven.

but

you

are

gone.

and i will look for you,

everywhere.

it is sunday.

the first day of grief.

— the first day of grief.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

My darling Ouma left us yesterday afternoon.

I am heartbroken.

Thank you for the messages and kindness you have shown me here,

liezel

Photograph by me.

when you have changed.

and there might come a day,

unexpected in its light,

where you will have to fight, and

raise your new voice like a victory song,

so that they will hear you, and

although they may have walked

through your life

as a friend

does,

they

will

need

proof

of this (new) change.

this metamorphosis

unauthorised

by their hand.

and it will hurt.

all change does.

but you,

you must be of great courage.

you have grown up

and

you have grown in.

into your skin,

now stretched taut

over all that was once thin.

and your roots have grown strong.

and this new hunger

needs good soil,

so search

until you find the thing

that fills your bones

with joy.

and you have worried

about the leaves that have withered in places.

there is no need to fret

over things that are dying.

death

makes

room

for more, but

they might find this

uncomfortable.

find you uncomfortable to sit beneath,

at once

preferring the sparseness

of who you once were, and

not this new verdant canopy

that obscures their view

of who you are

now.

your rawness will frighten them,

disturb their sense of

right,

and

you

will

be

wrong.

and so,

fight

if you must.

if you must

prove

the worth of your

newness,

then fight.

but know that there are others,

many others.

and on a warm sunny day,

unexpected in its light,

they will stumble upon your presence,

and they will come and linger

in your shade.

and there,

there where the others found nothing

left of any worth,

they,

will find shelter and rest.

— when you have changed.

© Liezel Graham 2019

Photograph by Meve R.