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

silent letters

early monday morning

there is chaos
to tame,

a kitchen to clean, and
spelling to teach.

some words are deceptive,

some letters can be seen, but

be careful, listen

they are never heard, they

do not own
their own
sound, may as well

not be there, i have found

there is a
b
in numb
that refuses to be known,

even though it is there
for everyone to see.

a lamb on a limb
on her way to the tomb,

i pull on a pair of jeans,
a sweater

comfort
familiar to my skin, and
practical.

did i mention

that there is work to be done?

from deep within
the third drawer,

i pull a scarf

tie it
around
my neck, it is soft

does not feel like hands.

i will not take it off, i

leave it on my skin.

all day i search

for lost things.

i am covered in dust,
baptised in silk.

— silent letters.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Maadhuri G.

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 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.

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’}.