Poems on a Theme

ZOELAB 365:  DAY 44

To continue on yesterday’s themes, I want to share three poems.

The first is very well known, and written by the spiritual activist and writer, Marianne Williamson, but is often wrongly attributed to Nelson Mandela as part of his inauguration speech. I was first introduced to this poem by one of my acting teachers many years ago. It spoke to a part of me that had never been spoken to before and has inspired me countless times since. The second is a poem I wrote in response to that poem. The title comes from a women’s artist collective and website called Spun Sugar that I initiated many years ago in NYC, but never came to fruition. The third poem is a poem I wrote while in graduate school that dares  the other (and myself) to not fall for the illusion (a false self) of disempowerment. The latter two poems became lyrics to songs that are as of yet, unfinished.

I made the drawing above while exploring Jungian theory in graduate school. It depicts the feminine archetype that becomes empowered through her connection with nature. By reclaiming the parts of her that were in shadow: her power/animus (the lion), her groundedness/earthiness (the tree), and her femininity/sexuality (the moon) she becomes an integrated, embodied and empowered woman, and therefore: whole.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Song for a Spun Sugar Sister

Planes go high in the sky,

red-winged red birds pass me by.

But, me on them,

me seeing them

makes me large & upwards &


makes me Chinese-happy,
& sunshine eyes.

My tragic stomach


ticking the blood up to my heart.


Don’t be afraid,

in the smoke-stacked circumference

of a tiny world

on tiny hinges

to be great,

to let out the largeness of you.


Don’t be afraid

to put forth

kind & bouncy words

for those ears you care for.


Don’t be afraid

to talk of your unique bible:

soulful & aesthetic

human & genetic.


Don’t be afraid

within the shameful state of things

to be embarrassed

to hold yourself,

to wink at unseen things.


Cuz it’s not what we can swallow,

but what we can chew-on

that gives us acceleration

and initiation.


So, be large, as Marianne says.

Be huge in your dollhouse

and soon you will see

that even those who’ve made you shrink

will suddenly swell.


Don’t Believe


Don’t believe

this face

this ease

this voice.


Don’t believe

this overt tenderness

which caresses you

and mends

your discomfort

with your presence.


I need for you

not to believe

that this is all I am.


I need for you

to pry me out.
I need for you

to know how I have left me.

That there’s a fierceness inside

that aches.


There’s rhythm

in this body.

But not the rhythm you think.


Don’t believe

My voice you hear.

It’s on top of another thing:

A rumbling.

A torn creature.
A fire.


Listen harder

And be bold with me.

Blood bold.


Don’t believe

my fragile escape.

Even this,

I can fake.