whatever is still to come (and) things that we hold in our hands

whatever is now, whatever

is still to introduce

itself to me

as i soften, grow fuller

in the years to come

from all the life that has found me, and

that wrote itself on my skin

this greying, this growing

wiser i hope, and

perhaps there are things

formed, things

sharp and uncertain,

not altogether unfamiliar,

a heart does grow tired of stretching

learning to let go of control,

the safety of knowing how things will look

one day

when we are old,

yet

you are there, somehow

you

found

me, and

were you searching?

wandering into my life

you are love

on soft footsteps

as if you have always been there.

familiar.

so wanted.

the earth beneath me.

i hope that you never grow tired of this, of

holding us in your hands.

— whatever is still to come (and) things that we hold in our hands

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Nathan Dumlao.

Unsplash.

you are not the well.

did you also tell yourself
that you have to save
everyone

just to feel the weight of their

‘i love you’

on your skin?

…and did they also tell you,

when your eyes were still
dew soft with memories
of where you were made,

and put together in the secret places,

that

their happiness was all tied
up inside of you

with ribbons, except

they were really ropes.

and it has been impossible
for you
to
escape,

their hunger

which consumes you from the outside in, and you are

always having to smile
and keep the peace.

keep them happy
when they break.

always having to glue
things

and places
and people

right back together

when you have run out of light
yourself?

as if this were the only
thing that heaven has
called you
to do.

that when the angel stirs the pool you have to carry them
in, but

it never works.
they are never healed.
they are never, ever happy.

because you are not the water.

it is a lie.

you
are not here to save people
from themselves.

you
are not here to earn love.

to cross deserts,
and fields of thorns
for someone to draw water
from your empty hands.

just because you have a cup

does not mean
you are a well.

you are not the source,
or even the back that carries
the weight.

somehow,
you were not told
that your voice is strong,

and beautiful.

and that it can sing on
its own,

carry an entire melody
alone!

and has anyone ever told you
this,

that there is a God
for everyone,

and

it is not you.

you,
are free to go.

go and live!

— you are not the well.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Frank Albrecht.

I don’t like posting twice on the same day, but I really want to put this one up tonight.

You cannot be the source of someone’s happiness, peace and joy.

It is not your job.

And sometimes, we are told this from a very young age and all we know from thereon out, is that we need to keep the peace… we don’t learn that we can challenge opinions, and say ‘no’ to things that make us uncomfortable.

we become people pleasers with a skewed sense of love.

we think that we have to somehow earn the ‘i love you’s’ by being the source to people who don’t know where to find it themselves, or don’t want to find it themselves.

you are not a crutch.

you were a given a life.

go and live it!

With a grateful nod to Melissa T, for a line that I used in this poem.

liezel

thoughts on failure.

let your failures leave you a better person, not a bitter person.

you are not alone in failing.

let the mistakes you have made—all of them—even the big ones, especially the big ones, leave you as one who will walk back to search for the one who needs help.

you are not the only one who has been lost.

everyone says let go of your failures—let go of your past. i say, all the things you wish you could undo in your life—those three am regrets? don’t let them go. hold onto them, but hold onto them loosely, so that you will always remember what it feels like to get it wrong.

because you are not the only one who has to fight off their past.

don’t let shame define you, but don’t forget the taste of it in your mouth.

give others what you needed when you were on your knees, with your back against the wall.

do this without any ulterior motive.

just be kind.

kindness, compassion and love like to get their hands dirty. they’re not ones for standing around looking holy.

so, take your hurts, take your memories, your failures and your regrets, and go out there and be a safe place for others and give them grace like it’s water.

you hold light in your hands and hope in your mouth.

and you might be the only one doing so.

this is how we change the world. this is how we save lives.

— thoughts on failure.

Photograph by Ander Burdain.

this is not my usual style, but things that need to be said.

liezel

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

elizabeth.

did you know, she said, that i have been so hungry for so long, from birth, i think, that i have fed all the soft parts of me to a hundred, maybe more, and it is never enough when the light breaks, and i am never enough, and only one of us leaves with a full belly and it is never me.

it is never me who knows what it feels like to be enough, to be just right and not too much, or too little, and i don’t know how to get all my pieces back, how do i find myself again, and my heart needs them back, because these holes are too big now and the wind blows right through them, and late at night, when all those people are walking through my head with their hungry bellies and their dirty feet, i can’t sleep for the sound of the wind weeping through those holes, my holes, and right through me, and perhaps it is me, i don’t know anymore…

and all i could say was, i know.

i know.

me too.

— elizabeth.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photograph by Dominika Roseclay.

Friend.

i am not afraid of your darkness or mine, and i have seen it all before, and my ears know the sound of fear all too well, and pain too, and i have walked this road in another life and even yesterday i stumbled over this same stone, and i can find my way out of here for both of us, and i see that you have run out of light? don’t worry—here, let me give you a bit of mine, and

i’ll just break a small piece off right here, and no—it doesn’t hurt at all, and it grows back so quickly and look! now you have some of me inside of you, and i think that means that we’re friends, and i see you, and you see me, and you are just what i have been searching for, come—let me show you the way out of here.

— friend.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photograph by Freestocks.

A freeform verse for a friend going through a hard time. xx