Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Three things (A poem)

I was going to blog about our trip to Sovereign Hill today, but I have not had time to finish sorting my photos, so I'm going to leave that til Thursday. I also have a backlog of books that I've read but not yet reviewed for the Aurealis and Miles Franklin Awards reading challenges, but they will have to wait too, after I saw the prompt on Twitter for today's #NaPoWriMo. The prompt is: "write a poem full of things you'd never tell your daughter."

three things I will never tell my daughters -
one from the buried past (let the dead of my heart sleep quiet);
one blanketing the world beyond our door, a lie heavy, bitter;
one glimpsed in dreams and story, wraith-fingers beckoning the future.

three things -

I will never tell them that which is not theirs to know, that came before,
the ghosts of my life, straggling  in scraped corners of my mind,
their haunting half-hearted, muffled, muted by a life lived in openness to joy.

I will never tell them that they are less-than, limited,
that their bodies have meanings that they did not choose, to which they must adhere
that the frank loveliness of their eyes, their limbs,
the eventual coming of curvature and blood
is what they must measure themselves against.
I will never tell them and I will fight the world in every ditch when it tells them
that they are innately this or that thing
that they cannot do the other
that those two paired Xs, rotating in double helix
gave them something incomplete, imperfect, vulnerable.

I will never tell my daughters that the future is either assured or doomed
how would I know? besides, it is theirs to shape and salvage
not mine. when they, in their passion, rail against the darkness
that threatens the sun, I will not tell them they are overreacting
or wrong.
I will not tell them tomorrow will be better than today, or that it will be worse
I will not tell them not to dream, to abandon hope
for themselves or for their strained world.
I will not tell them what they should think, or hope for,
or trust in, or believe.

these things I will not tell my daughters.

instead, I will tell them -

whatever came before, now you are, and the stars shine on you.
whatever the world says, you are wonderful, fully human and fully yourselves,
and can walk with giants, if you choose it.
whatever the future brings, I will love you in it
with fierceness and constancy, to the day of my death
and if something of me remains thereafter
forever and ever and ever
til the end of time and space and breath

that is what I will tell my three daughters.

- Kathy, 16/4/13


  1. What an amazing piece of writing. With four daughters it really resonates with me, and brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face. Beautiful.

  2. You are very talented, and that is some beautiful writing. xxx

  3. Beautifully written, so many things to show your girls and not tell them. So lucky you all are- three sisters is very special :) #teamIBOT

  4. You are the most incredible poet. I am in awe of the way you can write this. So beautiful