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.

the sweetness of simple things, hard won.

I am watching my son, eleven-and-a-bit years, eat his lunch.

He has the same meal every day—oven chips, carrot and chicken. He takes comfort in the familiar—needs it, like he needs oxygen.

He is using both a fork and a knife.

More than that—he is using ordinary cutlery. He no longer needs specially shaped knives, forks and spoons that are shaped to make it easier to lift food from plate to mouth.

Just beautifully ordinary cutlery.

Taken from the cutlery drawer without a thought and slipped quietly next to plates and bowls.

He still won’t touch food with his bare hands, but this? This one we’ve conquered—the sweet result of years and years of working intensely on a simple skill.

My son is autistic. He also has dyspraxia. Simple instructions such as co-ordinating a knife and a fork at the same time, get lost in the conflicting messages between his neurological system and his muscles.

At least, it used to. Forks and knives and hands and mouth, now listen to his brain.

Dyspraxia impacts his life in hundreds of ways, but we have worked so hard.

Every day.

Giving up, has never been an option.

We don’t know the meaning of those words.

There have been lots of tears.

Mine and his, and we are intimately familiar with frustration.

But give up?

Never.

So, here we are, the two of us, on a quiet Thursday afternoon. It is raining outside, I am having a cup of tea and I am watching my boy eat his lunch with a knife and a fork, and it is an utterly beautiful thing.

— the sweetness of simple things, hard won.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Photograph William Rouse.

A little glimpse into life in my home and the sweetness of simple things that are hard won.

liezel

may all your days be honest, and may you be honest about all your days.

i have carried a young poem

in my hands for days

now, but

in this year

where i have had to

strike rocks in the desert

just to taste a drop of water,

i have nothing left to make it

holy,

these words in my cupped hands.

nothing to dress it up with.

somewhere

between march

and

september,

i ran out of gold,

frankinscense

and

myrrh.

but still,

this poem wants life,

wants to bring red velvet hope

where there is straw, and

a friend said

to me,

as i undressed my heart,

have a gentle christmas,

and

may it be honest.

so i am holding this up,

instead.

this word.

honest.

lifting it high above my life tonight,

like a star.

a compass.

not merry.

not bright.

but a light,

nonetheless.

— may all your days be honest, and may you be honest about all your days.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photography by Annie Spratt.

sharing a little freeform writing with you on this eve before christmas.

if this year was hard for you—mine has been—losing both my gran and my brother in the space of a couple of months, knocked the wind right out of me, and if you are missing the breath of people you love, if you have lost a part of yourself, or if you have no idea how tomorrow, or next year will look…

then i wish you a gentle, honest christmas.

it doesn’t have to be merry.

it doesn’t have to be bright.

may all your days be honest, and may you be honest about all your days.

know that you are loved,

liezel

my deepest thanks to my beautiful friend, Lisa, for giving me the gift of an honest christmas.

after the scalpel.

for a few days

after

a surgeon takes a scalpel

to my body,

i am forced

to grow

still.

i am not made for this.

i fight

to move

to stand up

to change my life

without needing any help.

there are mountains to climb

and a valley

to find my way out

of.

it hurts.

they said it would

take

time

that i do not know how to give.

but every slow-gold afternoon

after we have had our lunch

and

after i have filled my pockets

with plans,

my son carries his pillow,

blankets,

bears.

into my room

where he climbs

onto my bed,

curls up

softly

into the roundness of my hip

the quiet place that

only he knows

as home.

i am this

to him.

still.

his breath warm on my shoulder,

a whisper

…isn’t this nice, mom?

— after the scalpel.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photography by Annie Spratt.

it’s ok, you can let go now.

how to heal a broken heart?

you must love again

something

someone

get up

dry your eyes

dust yourself off

loss, is just a season’s weight

not a calling until death

you were not born

to exist

on crumbs

now go!

someone out there

is searching

for you.

— it’s ok, you can let go now.

© Liezel Graham 2019.

Photography by Liezel Graham

if this is for you, may your heart find all the courage it needs to love again.

it’s ok, you can let go now.

liezel