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.

learning to let go | trust.

every new morning,
i set all of my tomorrows free.

— learning to let go | trust

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Background image by Filip Zrnzević.

for some of us, learning to let go of security and the need to control things beyond our control—deciding every fresh morning to let go of what we think our tomorrows should look like, learning to live in the moment, can be the bravest thing we ever do.

also the scariest.

you are not alone.

i see you.

x

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

do you know how beautiful brave looks on you?

courage fits everyone differently.

do you know how beautiful brave looks on you?

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Jon Tyson.

Don’t compare your place of courage to that of another.

Courage looks different on each of us.

Vulnerability looks different on each of us.

Do you know how beautiful brave looks on you?

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