Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Standing Naked

Today is my birthday. I thought about all of the things that I could write about to commemorate this occasion and then I thought again. I'm not really in the mood for one of those sappy romps through the past nor am I in the mood for a prophetic foray into the future. My solution, which may or may not be a good one, is to share a poem that I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

I don't often share my own poems here but, for whatever reason, this is how I am acknowledging my birthday.


I sat clothed in a wardrobe of the past.
Layers of tightly woven fabric keeping the cold in
and the warmth out.
Hiding a body and spirit that had dared to live
nearly half a century.

You pleaded with me to shed my hat,
unbutton my coat, kick off my shoes.
To let you remove gently these makeshift bandages
allowing the wounds beneath
the healing breath of fresh air.
You bid me to stand naked,
to hide nothing from you and nothing from myself.

As my last garment fell to the floor,
I saw, as if magnified tenfold, the scars of life given
and life lost.
I felt fresh pain, inside and out, from punches
taken by hand and by word.

As I reached desperately for the security of my old clothes,
My flesh and soul instead were enveloped by the cloak of your words –
“You’re beautiful.”