how to climb out of a foxhole.

when i find myself walking on a beach again,

sand soft and ocean lapped,

i shall be brave.

braver than i have ever been.

run into the water without a thought

of how i might look

to anyone passing through

on their way home from war.

aren’t we all?

hiding from each other

in foxholes all day

in plain sight.

i shall allow my hands

the freedom to throw joy

into the foam of the green, and

i shall not use them as a holy covering for all the parts of me that are hungry

to feel cool air salted with joy, and

the ordinary blessing of water.

do i really need to earn this right?

i refuse.

pale and dimpled in secret places,

i am a velvet map

to a place called courage.

it turns out,

that despite all my hiding from others,

and me,

that i have been naked all my life,

anyway.

aren’t we all?

and i am slowly dying.

ever since my birth,

time is slowly being taken

from me

and all the nights

that i did not walk into love

feet bare, fingers searching,

has been loss.

the weight of it all was enough

to make me walk away

and live.

— how to climb out of a foxhole.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph by Jordan Donaldson.

thoughts on failure.

let your failures leave you a better person, not a bitter person.

you are not alone in failing.

let the mistakes you have made—all of them—even the big ones, especially the big ones, leave you as one who will walk back to search for the one who needs help.

you are not the only one who has been lost.

everyone says let go of your failures—let go of your past. i say, all the things you wish you could undo in your life—those three am regrets? don’t let them go. hold onto them, but hold onto them loosely, so that you will always remember what it feels like to get it wrong.

because you are not the only one who has to fight off their past.

don’t let shame define you, but don’t forget the taste of it in your mouth.

give others what you needed when you were on your knees, with your back against the wall.

do this without any ulterior motive.

just be kind.

kindness, compassion and love like to get their hands dirty. they’re not ones for standing around looking holy.

so, take your hurts, take your memories, your failures and your regrets, and go out there and be a safe place for others and give them grace like it’s water.

you hold light in your hands and hope in your mouth.

and you might be the only one doing so.

this is how we change the world. this is how we save lives.

— thoughts on failure.

Photograph by Ander Burdain.

this is not my usual style, but things that need to be said.

liezel

a hungry heart is a dangerous thing.

being loved, and

being used for love.

both taste the same

to a hungry heart.

— a hungry heart is a dangerous thing.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photograph by Laurent Perren.

#TeachYourDaughters

#TeachYourSons

those of us who have grown up hungry for love, hungry for acceptance, hungry for belonging… we struggle to know the difference between real love and being used for love.

and sometimes, even when we know deep down in our gut that this is not what it should be, we still stay… because hunger is a powerful force.

teach your daughters and teach your sons, to know the difference and to learn to love themselves enough to know when what they are being given, is not enough.

liezel

this poem is from my book, Stripped.

https://www.amazon.com/Liezel-Graham/dp/1708221328

a happy dance and a big reveal!

So… it has been months in the making, but I can finally share the cover of my first poetry collection.

Originally due in May, but life happened and 2019 turned out to be a profoundly difficult and heartbreaking year for me.

But, as the saying goes—better late than never!

‘Stripped’ is a collection of poems that I have shared here and also on my blog.

There are a few new poems in, but most of them will be familiar.

It was quite difficult to decide which poems to include, but my vision was that my first book would be a collection of poems that gave a voice to ‘unbecoming’ all the wrong that you were taught about love, your true worth in relation to your body image and finding your place in this world, to learning to live life with rebellious joy and growing into your own skin—learning to love yourself and finding the ‘beauty in the struggle’.

I am now working on my second collection, which will have a more spiritual thread running through it. I will also include my poems that have more of a nature theme as faith and nature walk side by side for me.

I shall keep you all updated on when the book and eBook go live on Amazon, but for now… I am (finally) able to do a happy dance!

Thank you for being present on my page, for reading my poetry and for your deep courage that you share so bravely, here!

You are all just lovely!

liezel

the woman who laughed in colour.

today i saw a woman

.

in an orange jumper

and

a red floral skirt

.

creased

.

from all the living she had already done by

noon

.

brown hair unbrushed

.

rebelliously

wild

.

and when she smiled at me

the soft skin around her eyes

showed me how much

she loves to laugh

in colour

.

at life

.

a history lesson in joy

.

and for a moment she was

the most beautiful thing that

i had ever seen, and

.

i wonder if she knows this

when she looks at herself

in the mirror at night.

.

— the woman who laughed in colour.

.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

.

Photography by Kate Kozyrka.

.

Today at the library I saw a woman in a wrinkled, rumpled outfit, no make-up and with her hair unbrushed and a little wild, but when she smiled at me she lit the room up, and her smile was like an explosion of colour, and I hope she knows just how beautiful she is, and how her face spoke of her love for life, and it was a pure, intoxicating thing to witness.

.

liezel

captive

i have tasted this poison before.

still i lift the cup again.

— captive.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

This is the second micropoem in my #HealingTheHurtChildWithin

series.

I don’t think that I need to elaborate on this one.

If this is you, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Sometimes, if we haven’t healed, we keep returning to the thing that holds us hostage.

For some of us this is an addiction—be it alcohol, food, sex, drugs, gambling… for others it is choosing a toxic relationship, or the same types of toxic partners because it’s all we know.

Perhaps it is choosing the same addictions or behaviours that owned the ones who love(d) you.

I would love to hear your insight into this,

liezel

Photography by Johann Piber.