smile

This little face !!

Eyes squinting into the sun, so easily misinterpreted as “grumpy-face” if not balanced by the smile. This smile right here.

I had glimpses of her over the years, but she was often lost. In these early photos here I am, staring straight down the line to the camera, smiling with a quiet confidence like I know who I am, like I know how I’ll be living my life.

The circle is drawing back round to the beginning and I am so happy to have found this little being again and been able to release her into the world before the circle closes.

Finding your own truth, your purpose, your voice – what is life otherwise?

This is me – someone just needs to untie my hair and I’d be complete.

the green inside

there is a place that lives inside me
a space between trees
low hanging branches
overgrown grass
glimpses of sky
cool, damp and quiet
the sound of a stream nearby

the grass is deep, vital green
and when I lie down
it surrounds me
and I see nothing
but clouds shifting
liquid jade between

I am invisible to all
except birds who watch
from high behind the leaves
beetles climb the grass stems
a bee lands on my hand

surrounded on three sides by trees
the fourth side opening into the light
I remember the sadness of leaving

walking out into the sun
the loss of place

revisiting is bittersweet

© Claire Griffin 2016

distance

there was always a distance

between us
a space I tried to cross
to reach you

I was alone
I sought your approval
thinking it was love

but now

I walk alone
crossing a bridge of my own making
to a place of my choosing

I don’t need you
to be on the other side

I am complete

© Claire Griffin 2016

This is the shortest edit I can make of a piece written in September. I find I am still processing the events and subsequent realisations from the end of last year. A massive emotional blow that led to the reassessment of a key person in my life and everything I thought I knew about my childhood.

I’ve been writing about these experiences over the last few months, and I hoped I had “dealt” with it all, but these thoughts keep surfacing.

So I hesitated to post this, yet another expression of my personal turmoil. When I shared this hesitation with a friend – she encouraged me to post saying “but you can put into words the things that others can’t – it helps others that you share your feelings” and then I remembered that I’ve always believed the deeply personal can be the most universal – so I trust that there will be something here to connect with.

And I’ll stop feeling I need to make excuses for them. These words are who I am, and who I am becoming. 

Still, while I’m tired of the darkness these pieces contain, writing my way through these feelings has released me, and I feel as though I am an adult at last, although I wish it hadn’t taken so long.

patience

stopped at the lights
I noticed a little girl
on the edge of a tantrum
all scowly face
and stampy legs
as she tested the boundaries
the struggle between autonomy
and safety

her mother talked calmly
over the curly head
to her own mother
but held the tiny hand throughout

by the time the lights changed to green
the little toddler legs were still
and a smile was edging out the frown

the patience of generations
guiding the energy of this tiny soul

 

© Claire Griffin 2016

the fallen

IMG_4226
the ground beneath is hard and dry
not a place to rest, not a place to lie
this far down was only ever for foraging
wind-rivers here can not carry
but blow dust flurries into eyes
dust rose and settled, glossy black coat undone
reaching into air but finding no purchase
eyes opened blind to the sun
fallen
fallen
this far down
all horizontal, all solid, all still
body cooling under sun
hard nest of stones and dust
bones and black
sight gone, shine gone
fallen
still

walking home she saw the contrast
black against the blonde ground
small lost body in the dust
she sensed fragility
approached cautiously
blew gently revealing the dull eyes
fingers nested, lifted
warm hands enclosed
one finger stroked away the dust
revealing the shine
compassion carried him away
her quiet voice shared secrets
whispered into tiny ears

she found a box and a doll’s blanket
and made a bed
she lay her black prince to rest
she knew this sleep was forever
there would be no wakening kiss
she tucked the blanket around him
to comfort and protect
a final nest
and blessed him in silence
a small child’s sacrament
a small child’s attempt
to honour the wild world
to care for the fallen

to an only child
anything could become animate
anything could become the voice of her imagination
he was her pet, he was beloved
he was a sleeping prince
a treasure, a secret
a gift from the world she walked in
at one with the raw pure energy of childhood
not yet disconnected

she felt the need to share
this treasure felt too much for one so small to hold
she showed her mother
expecting softness and awe and sensitive respect for her care

the mother snatched the box
threw it in the bin
half-filled with ashes from the coal-range
clouds of grey ash rushed up on impact
then settled slowly over the small black body
this last wind
this last nest
a desecration
a child’s heart broken

looking down
the blackbird thanked her, blessed her, kissed her tears
she would remain known to the birdworld, the greenworld
the elemental consciousness of nature
granted access
and held the thin door open

 

© Claire Griffin 2016

 

discovering who I am

Version 3

I’ve recently seen a photo of me
at about age three
climbing onto the verandah railing
and leaning out
leaning forward
bare feet, toes clinging on

I stand on the edge now
the edge of memory and time and history and loss
seeing my past self
a little girl who was funny
who was adventurous
and loving
and curious
and smiling
and brave

that little girl
looking into the future
full of hope, full of happiness
when I first saw her
I was astounded
I didn’t know that’s who I had been

and now
when I look in her eyes
I recognise myself
its taken a long time
I discover who I am

 

© Claire Griffin 2016

grass as tall as me

the grass is overgrown
as tall as me
long damp leaves give way
as I run through them
soft and yielding
and green, green
a vivid emerald sea

and I run through
to the gate
and throw a handful of chalk over
into the paddock
into the docks
and dandelions

its only now
that I can see and feel it
in memory and dream
then
it was all energy
and intent
and deception
and fear

I went back there
years later
the grass overgrown
as tall as me
the house burnt to the ground
I carried a burnt jarrah post all the way back to Wellington

and I see photos from that time
and there is no colour
the grass is cut
dry in the summer
but I’m still running
running

at Henley - running to my daddy