this is how i fight.

i light two candles,

place them on the windowsill
in my kitchen, next to the begonia blooming orange

it doesn’t know there is chaos
out there, somewhere.

everywhere. all day,

but especially the night

when day has drawn
her blackout blind and i am suddenly
without crumbs in the forest,

they burn,

reflecting all my faces
back at me.

flickering smallness
enough,

to lead me back
from all the dark places
my head wants to go.

listening to the news,

i drink my morning tea
from a delicate, china cup

my best teapot and cake,

defiant
on a tray.

this is how i fight, my hands

full of beauty,

i stand.

still.
tall.

my eyes held by the light.

— this is how i fight.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Charleigh Clarke.

a blessing for mother’s day.

may you find love.
enough to fill any holes.

may you find healing.
enough to cover any wounds.

may you find hope.
enough to keep your dream alive.

may everything that was taken from you, return to you as joy.

may all your failures grow into
courage.

may you find yourself brave enough to try again, and again, and again.

may you find a soft place to rest,
where you can take off everything that is not yours to carry, and

may you always be found by the light, no matter where you are.

— a blessing for mother’s day.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Kirill Pershin.
{Unsplash}.

Today is Mother’s Day in the UK and Ireland.

For many women it is a happy day where they are celebrated and loved that wee bit extra.

Happy Mother’s Day to you!

…but, if your arms are empty, or if your womb and your heart has only known loss, if you are grieving a child, grieving a mother, grieving any woman who has loved you like a mother, if you are a mum who has fallen again, and again—who knows bitter disappointment, shame and failure as friends, then I send you love today.

For the fathers who have to be mothers, too—you are doing just fine.

For the grannies, that are mums again, for the stepmums who have had to step into new shoes—you are doing just fine.

May you be found by everything that you need.

You are so loved.

liezel

Adhaan.

my eyes find hers.

i say,

one more push!

you’re almost there.

as women have done
for years

since time began, and

suddenly!

a rush of life.

my hands hold

hope,

slick with blood.

i wipe nose and mouth,
look for tiny breaths,
a whisper on my hands.

she cries.

i smile, but
still

no words fall from my tongue.

not yet.

eyes wide with wonder,

he looks at me,
i nod.

and

there
beside the bed,
a new-born father

finds,

perfectly folded,

his daughter’s tiny ear.

bends down
holy,

softly whispers
ancient words filled with God.

— adhaan.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Charles Deluvio.

I shared this poem in my writing group this morning and I thought I would share it with all of you over here, too.

The Adhaan (Adhan) is the Muslim call to prayer which a father whispers into the right ear of his newborn baby as soon as possible after birth.

I once delivered a lovely Muslim couple’s first baby and this was an incredibly beautiful rite to witness.

liezel

you are allowed to put your life down and rest.

you are not enough
to feed five thousand.

even three has been too much,
despite what others see.

have you felt a failure
because of this?

even God had to row to the other side of the sea
to escape.

and rest.

— you are allowed to put your life down and rest.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Kasper Lau.

you can make anything from ashes. even beauty.

so, your heart is broken

and pain has leached the sunlight from your bones.

what will you do with this gift?

— you can make anything from ashes. even beauty.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

Photography by Annie Spratt.

Yesterday, I shared this poem with a friend whose heart needed a bit of hope, that even the hard things, no—especially the hard things, often lead to wondrous things.

…and that pain, if held onto loosely, can be the substance of beauty.

liezel

{this poem will be in ‘a counting of love’}.