I don’t think I ever shared on my blog that I got published in Celebrate Change? Maybe I accidentally put it on my Procrastination Coach blog, I have clumsy days sometimes. I was really happy with it, and I do remember shouting it of the rooftops. Or the digital equivalent of that 😉
This is a story about what happened in my family, generations ago. The story has never been told, yet I know it happened. It’s been told in the things we don’t say. It’s been told by the things we don’t do. We hush – move on, nothing interesting going on here. And yet, there was…
I don’t know her age. The signs didn’t tell me. But she was a woman. She was beautiful. She was fertile. She was wise. She was helpful. They wanted her to say yes to everything. She didn’t. I guess that’s what got her killed. She said no to one who couldn’t bear it.
You’ll have to fill in the details yourself. Was she married? We don’t know. What did she dream of? No one knew. What was the sound of her laughter? I don’t know – but I do know she loved to laugh. She enjoyed life. She enjoyed company. She enjoyed learning new things. In the end, I think that’s what got her killed. She knew more than they could deal with.
They tried to cover it up, as justice. They tried to make it look like it was right. She was a witch, they said. She was a danger to the village, they claimed. But her family knew better. The only thing she did was say no to someone who couldn’t take it. So he made the claim. He wanted to destroy what he couldn’t have, and knew he couldn’t do it alone.
At first his words held no strength. People trusted their own judgement. They knew her laughter. The knew her beauty. They asked for her wisdom when they needed it. But sometimes she couldn’t help. The disappointed wondered if the rumours were true. They knew they were good people, who deserved good things. Maybe their disappointment was the work of the devil? Maybe there was no wisdom, only trickery? Maybe she wasn’t beautiful, and she just wore a mask.
I think she was married. She had a baby, for sure. Or was she taking care of an orphan? A boy who declared her to be his mother, because love is stronger than blood. Long before he knew her blood would be spilled, he knew he had her love. He felt it in his bones. He saw it in her eyes. He tasted it in the food she shared with him.
A boy, who witnessed the blood. Shed. Spilled. Congealed. He saw her throat, sliced open so she couldn’t speak. He saw the blood between her thighs. He heard the claim that it was self defence. A harmless man against a powerful woman. A Christian dagger against the hand of the devil. An act of justice to right an unnamed wrong. He saw. And he listened. And he took note. This would never happen again. He would be the keeper. He would pass the message along: stay safe, stay safe. So his children would be safe.
They were. He learned to fear for those he loved. He never told his story, but he worked hard to keep his loved ones safe. It was tough sometimes. There’d be contagious laughter in an unguarded moment. There’d be shared wisdom that could draw attention. And true beauty is hard to keep hidden. So he passed his fear along, to help them keep themselves safe. They did. They were. Safe. Their children too. And their children’s children. No one knew what happened.
His descendants stayed safe. They knew how to stay hidden, because something might be out there. They knew they should stay away from trouble, but never understood why. Though they’d never been told, they realised the dangers of beauty, of laughter, of wisdom, of being female and fertile.
Now here I am. Female. Fertile. Beautiful. Wise. Alive. I’m here now, to tell you this story, even though it happened centuries ago. I’ve received love in the form of fear. It couldn’t protect me. I’ve always protected myself. And I learned. There’s danger in silence. There are worries in absence. I will speak up. I’ll tell my truth. I’ll honour the ones who died. I’ll honour the ones who live. I WILL be safe. And I will love.
Figure of speech
When you wish for something to be a metaphor but it’s true
Demand is falling and online purchases are undermining the economic viability of brick-and-mortar stores across the country. I thought that was fake news but alas, empty storefronts.
She always wore long sleeves
On the hottest of days.
Nothing to see here, she always said
Don’t worry. I’m fine.
woven by her mother
with threads of silence
no whisper leaked through
The X-rays tell a different tale:
Of old fractures, of injuries
Hidden beneath layers of flesh and fear.
it made no sound
only the wood was dented
Stripped of skin, defleshed to mere skeleton
Her life lays bare on a cold slab
Exposed like dead-white maggots
Fat, wriggling, reluctantly pulled out
From hollow eye sockets full of hell.
The warp thread tension
the weft thread
A chip here. A groove there.
Violence records itself in bone.
We can be read by those
Who decipher death
Who study the language of cruelty.
We do not give up our secrets easily.
a chip here
a groove there
Nothing to see here, she always said
The bones always know.
Yay, a collaboration between Shuku and me, based on her poem for day 17. It’s off prompt for today, but it has influences of a number of the other prompts. It’s a very busy day today, so I can’t look up which ones.
I’ve created so many new ones I think this post deserves a reblog by myself :)The reason for making these today is threefold:
1) I’m looking forward to #NaPoWriMo
2) I’m procrastinating
3) I’m fundraising for a Greek friend who needs money to finish her education.
It’s poetry day in the Netherlands today – a good day I hope to raise money for a friend. To keep it simple: pay what you want, and ask what you want.
– choose an existing poem from https://unassortedstories.wordpress.com/, for example my most read one or my least read one.
– ask for a personalised poem
– commission a poem-de-luxe: handwritten, signed, beautiful paper, etc. (if you live far away I might need a contribution for stamps)
I’ll also be putting up paintings or drawings and coaching hours (coaching by me) for this fundraiser, but I haven’t organised all of that yet. But poetry day just asked for action NOW, not later 🙂
I’m raising money for a Greek friend to contribute to her education. She’s hard working, she is caring, she works with mothers and children, and she lives in Greece – a country, which you might know, has had quite a financial crisis for years now. She started the education, then life happened, and now I want to support her in being able to continue her education. Money has that power.
Today’s title is inspired by (one again 😉 this song by Patti Smith: I was present when this was filmed, and incredibly happy to witness it:
Here I am
At Preradoviceva Ulica
Laughing at Dutch jokes
Open to learning
who taught us
things are different here
Hot air plane
Views of mountains
All is well
Love to discover
A new city
#OctPoWriMo 4, travelling and off prompt. But acrostic and cinquain attempts going on. Croatian acrostics, a first for me 🙂