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Poetry by Shigé Clark

"Let the battered heart rejoice"

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rabbit room

Grateful (from Hutchmoot: Homebound)

For those who’ve asked for it, here’s my poem Grateful that I wrote during Hutchmoot: Homebound.


I am grateful. 
Darkness pulls at the edge of my cloak, and
I am grateful to stand 
in the smoke. I am able 
to laugh as I choke 
under scorched skies. 
Milky eyes leave streaks 
through dust tracks on my cheeks, ash 
rains down around me in the streets,
Father, the world is on fire. 
I raise my hands higher 
in the flames,
I am more than dust, and rust, and pain. 
I am grateful

for the strain
of music running through the veins
of earth. For the birth
of new joy in a hurricane
of woes. For those 
who raise their horns 
to split the night asunder. For thorns
shoved into willing brows and the thunder
of hooves on battle plains. For those who bow
under the weight and laugh beside me. 
For the dark that could not hide me,
and the dawn that always rises in the east. 
For the feast to come, 
that’s starting here
with table scraps of grace
and the light of shattered gold on every face.

Every trace of truth, it matters 
and it breaks 
into the battered body 
like a song. I am wrecked, 
and sore, 
and long to rest. 
But more, and more, and more, and best,
I am grateful.


If you’d like to hear the poem in it’s spoken-word form, you can watch it here on the Rabbit Room blog.

A poem for Mother’s Day

I know we’re a couple days late, but this has to be the most beautiful, moving Mother’s Day poem I’ve ever read. I found it on The Rabbit Room site. Enjoy!

Beyond the Footlights by Helena Sorensen

No, nor womanhood
I meant to write of summer,
Goodness, and the love of God.

But then I saw you step out on the stage,
The lights all trained upon your face
Stumbling feet and legs too long
A glance into the darkness,
Seeking guidance from a song.

It wasn’t your uncertainty that made me weep
I sat in shadow, gazing up,
And what I saw was glory,
Thinly veiled in tulle and satin
Saw a shy conviction, such delight
In roses? Sequins? No.

What you delighted in was you
That here, upon this stage,
We’d catch a glimpse of what you knew
Already, secretly
You small, immortal queen

I wept still more for your uncomprehending
Innocence. That you should not yet know
What kind of world you’ve entered in
You cannot know your danger. Oh!

The light around you, thin as spider’s web,
So fine I hardly dared to breathe,
Cannot remain.
Some hand will swat the veil aside
And barge right in
Or slowly snip the mooring threads
Until a breath of wind
Blows it away.
I cannot bear to see.

You spin on tiny feet, your arms uplifted,
Toss a grin into the crowd,
Take your skirts in hand and flee.
The lights go out.

I am inclined to stand and follow,
For who better knows the path ahead?
I’ve stared down countless dragons
Before curling in my bed to cry
Have felt the violence, the gouge of hungry eyes
I’ve watched in silence, waiting for my turn to speak
While years dragged by.
It never came.

And I have gathered up the fragments
Of my beauty,
Reapplied the tattered bits with paste, in haste
I’ve laid them down, washed myself clean
And roared.

I’ve beaten giants
Quiet as a lamb, and no one noticed.
Just as quiet I can slip in between you and hell
And stand my ground
I know what’s waiting for you, girl

Yet it could be that while I watch you dance
And weep
You’re looking down at me,
Wondering what it means to be
A woman.
Maybe you’d like to see my battle scars,
Know how it feels to come through fire and flood
And laugh.
For this is womanhood, this strength,
This towering refusal
To lie down and die
Sit down and hush

We stand and fight
We are the champions of the light
Inside your eyes.

That breathless glimmer
Only lasts an hour;
What rises from the embers
Is a fierce and lovely power.
Battle-hardened, battle-softened
Holy fire.

My great desire
Is that you’d know you are encircled,
Sheltered, lifted up by love.
You, too, will triumph,
Daughter, Dancer,
Face of God.
You, too, will rise above.

So smile your biggest smile.
I see your glory, too.
Out here, beyond the footlights
In the dark
A warrior fights for you.

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