every woman who heals herself.

Recently, one of my micro-poems was given new life by the wonderfully talented artist and illustrator, Kimothy Joy.

The image has been flying around social media and I am both pleased and humbled by this.

Here’s to healing — men and women, so that we don’t pass on unresolved hurt and pain to our children and through them, our children’s children.

on being jabez.

she named you jabez.

when

wave,

after wave,

of searing heat

had

ripped

through

her belly and skin.

and she,

exhausted,

could finally hold you in her arms,

she looked at you and said,

i gave birth to him

in pain.

call him, jabez.

he makes sorrowful.

he causes pain.

and i often wonder,

why?

a mother forgets

the pain of birth.

usually.

forgetting can be a lifeline.

but you — born in misery.

a maker of sorrow.

your name.

your very being.

you carried

that

with you.

inscribed on your heart.

through the years,

every

time

your

name

was

called.

a reminder.

(i caused) pain.

(i was born from) sorrow.

dear one,

born

in

strife.

did you ever wonder, why?

did you silently long

for the ordinary names of your playmates?

yes.

i see you.

i see your heart determine

not

to

fail.

i see a young man

steadfastly refuse

to give in.

refuse to give life,

to that

which crushed his mother’s heart.

that,

which longed to crush him,

too.

i see you fight.

fight,

to

not

settle

for the destiny

that you were named for.

knowing,

that there is more.

knowing,

that words have power.

great power.

if only i realised how much,

and

that

life

and

death

lives

in

my

mouth.

but,

there is one

who breathes

hope

into a tired spirit.

one,

who speaks

life

into dry bones

and

dead hearts.

i know.

jabez.

honourable man.

thousands of years after your name was written on a scroll,

i see you.

and i hear,

what the words do not say.

defiant one.

you taught me

that i too,

could shrug off a

hand-me-down cloak

too

small

for my shoulders.

you showed me the way to say,

no.

no,

i

shall

not

settle

for sorrow,

though i might be

named for it.

and,

there are many ways

to name a child.

i shall not be satisfied

with misery.

though it might have been a companion

for all the generations

before

me.

i shall not,

forever

carry

the bitter disappointments

of another.

though they know my name.

it is not my load to carry.

i will never be enough,

and

it will always be too heavy.

and,

this life has more.

always, more.

because there is one

who

is

enough,

and

i can go

with outstretched hands

and ask for more.

jabez.

the broken dreams

of our mothers,

were never meant

to guide

us

home.

there is hope.

there

is

so

much

hope.

stand up.

lift your head.

take

off

that

cloak.

it was never yours, to begin with.

— on being jabez.

‘Jabez was more honourable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying,

“I gave birth to him in pain.”

Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.’

1 Chronicles 4:9-10

© 2017. Liezel Graham.

A re-post of one of my older poems that I have polished a wee bit and that I feel so strongly to share today.

If you are not familiar with the story of Jabez, I can summarise it as follows:

a baby is born to a mother, who remembers only the pain of childbirth and names her son for that pain and that sorrow.

As someone who has delivered a few babies I know that there are as many different mothers as there are grains of sand, yet most forget the pain of labour and rejoice in the gift of the child that they have given birth to.

Unless, the child is not wanted.

Or, carries the weight of a mother’s broken dreams, and

we all do.

Sometimes.

But, this man story has always shown me that there is more.

Despite what you have inherited.

Despite what you have been named for.

Names,

can be changed.

And, misery and sorrow and pain

do not have to be your defining companions.

Even though they might be familiar.

Let them go.

Change your name.

Change your heritage.

xx

on mothering diabetes.

in my fridge,

in

the

shelf

that

is

designed

to

hold

cheese,

there

are

vials

of

hope,

and

a kit

with

pre-filled

hormone,

that

will

bring you back

if

you

should

ever

slip

too

far

away from me.

i,

keep

nocturnal vigils

with

foxes

and other

mothers

who have to

keep

on

keeping

on,

before the day breaks.

i,

punch

a calculator in my head

with

every

meal, and

i sing songs of

no, you cannot eat that now

and

please, you must drink this

now,

or, else…

and,

in this home

we

know

needles

and

we belong to the ones with

sharps containers

on

their

kitchen counters

where others

have

no

such

things.

and,

we

are

intimately

familiar

with

the fear that words can carry,

hypo

hyper

ketones

coma

death.

but,

i

also

know

the

hope

in glass vials,

where

every

drop

holds

life.

i,

know

that

cells might

forget

how

to

keep

you alive,

but

i

will

not

forget,

or

give

up,

and,

for

you and for life,

i am grateful.

— on mothering diabetes.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

Today, 14th November 2018, is World Diabetes Day.

In our home, we sing a different song and we fight a daily war that involves needles and insulin and fear — if I am honest.

But, we know hope and we are grateful for the simple miracle of insulin.

And, life.

self (worth).

does the sparrow

count

her worth,

in seeds found,

at the end of the day?

a tallying of

numbers

lining up

with avian goals

to achieve,

until

the figures

nod

approval to

her

existence,

or does she simply

rest,

content,

with full belly

in her warm nest,

a life

lived.

— (self)worth.

© Liezel Graham 2018.

I have been working on my internal dialogue — the driven personality that seeks to find (my) worth in what I do.

A counting of what I can tick off my to-do list at the end of the day and only once that list is long enough, full enough, allowing myself the pat on the back, the well done.