Cold, dead and dark.


 
I sew with limited visibility, trusting that my thread will be led the old-fashioned way by the abundance of natural flame dancing before me in an old jar, long shadows flickering across the table’s surface like spiders legs and winter branches or ageing crone feet.

Icy, cold: it makes for poor physical company, channelling chills into my palms and fingers, up my arms and into my head and neck each time I let my limbs connect. Like my mother with her carefully painted face and colour-coded outfits, it’s all for show. Behind the veil, inside… it’s a different story; cold, dead and dark.

by Rebecca L. Atherton


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Early Evening

The raindrops on the washing line
look pretty after the storm.

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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Sails

The wind makes ships out of balconies –
canvas and tarpaulin flapping,
plant heads creaking and snapping;
blowing everything – sadness, anger;
fear, frustration… away.

Like my head –
barely tethered, overly weathered;
subject to a disco of light too bright
for one with so many years.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Baa Baa, Black Sheep

image
Things keep breaking inside my house
and I seem to spend every spare moment fixing them.

I seek comfort in a warm cup,
my bed, and the gentle rhythm
of two needles going clickety clack.

Slowly nothing becomes substance
until eventually a blanket appears.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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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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Autumn leaves

A table laced with mind games spans the length of the room.
Beneath, a floor of broken glass.

The walls drip with silent tears
and the windows behind are shuttered against the light.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Inroads

Pulling, cutting, carving.
Holes in pale white skin.

by Rebecca L. Atherton

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Directions of work still to do


I’m exhausted today: no energy, no strength. After a morning in denial, I actually went back to bed – me, the obsessive taskmaster who never lets slip, the iron-fisted diplomaterian who demands and expects certain results, felled by external forces involuntarily imbibed. I’m learning, obviously: gradually developing the ability to be more personally kind, to allow what’s needed a space to rest; listening, sensing, feeling after so long in denial. And it felt nice, curling up with my dog: we shared energy, my hand on her side, her paws around my arm.

As I napped, drifting in and out, the past passed through my mind and my body reacted, various twitches and tremors lifting this, shaking that… Observing was a kind of story: directions of work still to do; each separate inner and outer part tugging me back to an event, an unresolved memory.

A friend suggested TRE (trauma release exercises), which resonated. And now I realise that this is why my back, arms, neck, shoulders, legs, hands and feet ache. It fits: so much has happened, not only in the last few years but also over the course of my life. The only question, and it’s always been the burning one, is will I have time to lift it in order to travel my mind, body and soul to the destination I desire?

The clock ticks…
 
Click here to read about my experience with TRE.

by Rebecca L. Atherton
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