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

my mouth can change the world.

if every peach skinned morning,

just as the new light holies me,

i decide

to keep all my words skin soft
and warm.

a prayer, perhaps

if you believe.

but, also if you don’t.

it works either way.
just like love.

i might remember this,

that i have so much kindness
in my mouth, but

there are days it doesn’t get used at all

and heaven sits on my shoulder all day,

a sparrow,

waiting to be set free.

— my mouth can change the world.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by James Hammond.

how to draw water for someone who is thirsty.

it is entirely possible to love someone

without sending God’s name out first,

without reminding them

of how their hands have failed

to hold water from the well,

and

how you are the answer.

if you love them right,

they will eventually in God’s own time

unfurl

untwist

unlearn.

they will grow beyond your reach

and

the Light will find them.

if you love them right,

you won’t have to use

God’s name

once.

— how to draw water for someone who is thirsty.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Amal Ali.

a new year’s song.

the year is dying in my hands

and

i am filling my apron

with a feather

for hope,

and

tiny bits of tumbled sea glass

for courage.

when the waters rise,

they will not wash over me.

a pinch of faith,

you only need a little,

and

a quilt of mercy

to warm my heart

that

at

times

has

loved

so coldly.

i will guard the spring.

guard it fiercely,

so that only

love

will

flow,

but i know

that i am cut from rough cloth

and

grace

is the bread that keeps me alive,

and you.

so

i will give

and give

and give,

until

we cannot see

who we once were,

for all the love.

that,

is how they will recognise us.

the broken ones.

not the knowledge.

not the perfection.

not the raised eyebrow,

but

the

love.

it’s how i recognised you,

when

all

i had known was failure.

you loved me first,

and

never

stopped.

and i will not worry about

my hips

or

my wrinkles

or

my yesterdays

or

my tomorrows.

i am held.

and because i am the one,

that

one,

who deserves an entire parable.

yes.

the one

who wanders

and

strays

into thickets

and

thorns,

where others see the danger,

i will remember that i was searched for

over and over,

every time

and

i too will

search

when others get lost.

i will not be the pointing finger,

but

the open hand that says,

here i am.

let me be

a light in a glass jar,

shining

in spite of it all.

— a new year’s song.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

Photograph by Anshu A.

{a repost from 2018}.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your tremendous support, your friendship, your encouragement, your willingness to be vulnerable and your courage in sharing your hurts and your joys, here on my page!

You are all so beautiful!

2020 will be a tremendously exciting year for me. I have a recording session lined up in January where I shall be recording a selection of my poems, my second book will be published in March and I have been afforded a wonderful opportunity to teach on vulnerability and creativity in April (more to come on that later in the year).

I shall also be starting a group off this page for those of you who want to explore writing as therapy, or as a healing tool in your own life — a safe space where you can share your writing, ask for feedback from others (or not), enjoy writing prompts and perhaps just find your feet as a writer. More on that in the new year and it doesn’t matter where you are in terms of skill — this will be a space to heal.

I wish you a spacious, honest New Year,

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