Afoot


There is a green plaster on my balcony
that wasn’t there before.

And last night there was a freak hailstorm
that earlier wasn’t predicted.

In my neighbourhood,
strange things are happening.

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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Mixed Emotions

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Yesterday it was sunny
and I basked like a cat.

Today I am listening to the rain come down
while inside different parts of me cry.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Discontent


 
The sky is weeping and I am sad
but the trees are happy to see rain.

Inside the house, mosquitos gather around the ceiling light
and later they will torment me again.

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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House of the double-headed ax

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The peace of an outdoor cafe
is like the medicine of a cool breeze to my mind,
blowing away monsters and cobwebs,
breathing life through month-shut windows,
opening closed wide.

Outstretched and uncurled,
my legs relax –
releasing my body,
leading my limbs…

away from the tight dark centre,
the labyrinth eye –

so that they might return to whence they came
way back in the beginning,
when day was day
and night was night.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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This ole house…

Leaving your apron
I move away from
the reach of kitchen knives.

In the corner
my father sits
silent.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

This Ole House song lyrics.

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Learning to dance again

Opening a closed heart can be dangerous;
especially if you have not adequately prepared.
Just look at Pandora and what happened to her!
In the end though, there is no other way:
denial only prolonging what will one day find a way out.

Navigating extreme feelings –
emotions that threaten to overwhelm
the casing in which they reside –
I battle the urge to run backwards,
something external holding me to the floor.

Placing hands on parts I have for years now
happily suppressed – suffocating, starving,
ignoring… until they appeared to die –
I listen as they wake back up:
hungry, angry, needy.

Tears fall, sobs escape, screams wrench
and I keen like a mother grieving an infant: open, raw, exposed.
And while it might take a while,
for the denial runs deep:
even this small freedom is a respite.

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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In subtle ways

Standing in the shadows, I cannot see you.
Walking behind me, I miss the help you give.
Yet you are there; people attest to this.

When the sky is grey,
when the land is wet,
when the air is cold and crisp;

when my body aches,
when my heart is heavy,
when my mind is full of clutter:

a flash of colour,
a burst of song,
an unbidden smile,

a stranger’s kindness,
a shaft of light,
a falling feather…

In subtle ways on countless days
you light my journey
and I feel your love.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Lavender, tea tree and Himalayan salt

Autumn leaves coat the pavement
like careless gems,
their silent bodies slowly rotting.

Likewise, a finger glowers and sweats,
unhappily attached to a hand so busy surviving,
it hurts more than it helps.

Days later, betrayed by Mary, Jesus, God,
lavender, tea tree and Himalayan salt,
the body interferes

insisting on manufactured
ointments, pills and plasters
to cover and protect what it cannot heal.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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A villa with no neighbours

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August is disappearing, fast-slipping into September, and I can’t help being nostalgic about something I’ve never had: a summer like last year; days spent outside, cafés by the sea, bbq’s, a pool, a villa with no neighbours. I miss the peace. I miss the quiet. I miss the freedom… I know it’s not forever and it’s all still there, but my heart feels broken, weeping for something that has died. I can feel it now – raw, restless, enraged; rising and falling like a turbulent ocean intent on capsizing every ship.

I know it’s a test; or at least this is what I am telling myself, if only because it sits better that way. But that doesn’t make it any easier. Or maybe it does? By calling it a ‘spiritual’ journey; refusing the dis-ease and discomfort to be named – not properly, not ‘officially’ in a way I can’t later deny: I’m opening a window and in doing so discovering that in darkness there is also light.

And I know it might sound weird – it would do to me if I wasn’t who I am, if this hadn’t all happened exactly as it has – but I feel the presence of God more and more profoundly every day. There are subtle messages, unexpected gifts, encounters that introduce me to something new inside. A process of remembering, I am slowly returning to who I was before life (people, experiences and places) got in the way. And as I do, I am aware that I have company: an inner mother cat who stands in front of my heart, reaching out to hiss and scratch at anyone and everything that tries to intervene. I am getting to know her slowly and slowly I am making her my friend.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Things I would love to shake

There are feelings in my body that are new, that I haven’t previously experienced. And others that are overly familiar: things I would like to shake but haven’t been able to dislodge. The new ones bother me the most: their discomfort harder to shut off; I don’t have the reserves of experience that time permits.

I’m learning how to manage them – slowly, in parts. And in that process achieving both failure and success. Like so many other things: it’s a journey…

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, where I will be next year as a result, or if I will even still be here and who I will be if I am. I have changed so much in so little time. In a lot of time, I might not even recognise myself.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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