being strong

We start with the best of intentions
to share the load,
the weight of life.

When others falter
we catch their hand
and lift them, and shelter, and console.
We carry what we can.

and this, we think, is how it should be.

Until, after time,
we notice, we cannot see the horizon.

The weight we carry has bent us
and we have spent so long looking down.
We have forgotten to let go.

We carry worries and fears and debts and doubts
in a basket we’ve woven from our own hair.
We struggle to shrug it off our backs,
but it has become part of us.
Our body has grown around it.
We would need to cut through the braids
that hold this weight against our backs
but in doing so, beware,
we would cut away part of who we are.

Why do we carry so much for others?
We do it because we can.
We do it because they cannot.

This does not mean that we cannot sit down to rest
with our backs against a rock.
Perhaps, we wonder, if we rub against it
the burdens will shift, become uncomfortable,
crawl out from between the strands.
Perhaps, we wonder, they might prefer to start walking on their own.

Still, when we come to rise
we must lift our own bodies,
press against the rock and breathe.
There is no-one to take our hand.

We do it on our own
because we can.

We lift our eyes to the horizon –
it is still there.
We step forward
and intention becomes action.

There is no-one to take our hand.
We do it on our own
because we can.

and this, we think, is being a woman.

 

© Claire Griffin 2016

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