Tuesday, January 7, 2014


I was a chattering child
living in the Sturm und Drang
until a jealous dark star filled my mouth with snow and silence.

There I stayed, a drift with nothing to say
for decades and donkey's years,
feet nailed to the floor to prevent St. Vitus' Dance.

Though silent, I was not stupid--
I hid my heart in the hollow of a tree
until such time as I could own the fever, 
like a yogi or a bush doctor.

Over ages, slow as a slat-leaked barrel,
I incubated language inside my teeth;
each word sharp as truth and long as lies.

I pulled the nails up inside my feet,
until I had claws, and when I finally moved,
it was under a sign-moon, quick as a curse.

I spat out the snow and my mouth learned new tricks--
there were the poems I garlanded from asters and barbed wire.
There were the women who listened, and whom I kissed.

Long ago, I went back to claim my heart from the tree,
and bargained with the guardian owl for a fair price
and her share of a summer night.

I gave myself a name, and the name means "beloved".
From that day until this, I have walked up and down upon the earth;
the snakes know me and hush their hiss.

Still, for all that, here is what I have learned,
and it is a woman's lesson, to be kept in a locket,
in a trunk, in secret, against bad fortune when it comes in threes:

Remember, girl,
that silence may still have its moment.
Remember the bird who can hide your heart,
and when the wind swings down and the moon goes dark,
remember you can run.
you can run.


top image "In The Woods 2" by onkami, both images found on weheartit.com

poem idea inspired by the Catie Curtis song "Run", which I can't find a video of, but the lyrics can be found HERE.


Sherry Blue Sky said...

"I hid my heart in the hollow of a tree". An especially brilliant poem, Shay. Loved it.

HermanTurnip said...

Tell me, where you inspired by that amazing photo? Great piece!

Cloudia said...

serious consequences, distilled pains, art, yearning, self abasement and self celebration!
liberation in love-
We are not ordinary, and that has always seemed a great thing during unimaginable trials. . . .

ALOHA, Dark Red Star,(Shay)
from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral
> < } } ( ° >

hedgewitch said...

Running has always worked for me--though sometimes the things that chase you know how to run fairly well themselves.

This is full of bright jewel knives that morph,from
I pulled the nails up inside my feet,
until I had claws,

I gave myself a name, and the name means "beloved"
making a sense of pervasive tenderness roll over what was designed to give pain, and a shining that makes them seem only misplaced things that ended by creating a beauty & strength they never intended. (I almost never quote but sometimes...you know, you have to.) One of your best, Shay, than which there is no better.

Ella said...

I love how in the misguided we can always find ourselves~ Beautiful Shay~ (I love your words and the photo)

Kerry O'Connor said...

This poem says so much to me about the self-actualization of the feminine psyche. There are so many restrictions, real and psychological, against women coming into their own - even in the free world - and I maintain it to be one of the most powerful metamorphoses of human consciousness. Your poem has put everything I have ever believe, intrinsically, into words.

This is phenomenal.

Anonymous said...

men are wizards cuz all we can do is wiz. women are witches cuz you know which way is which.

you know which way is which.

Lynn said...

Gorgeous, Shay!

G-Man said...

You are The Storyteller of Poetry!
If I had a Thimble full of your talent, I could call
myself great. It's an honor to be in your presence,
Your Highness

Mama Zen said...

I doesn't get any better than this. Ever.

Anonymous said...

fuck! i am never trying to write again!

shit! this is about as close to perfection as anything could ever be!
damn you anyway!