poetry

Cloak: Receive Each Other With Compassion. {poetry}

 

Heartbreak is a commonly understood motif in literature that spans centuries.

This piece, Cloak, however, is about the connection and comfort found in the company of other like-experienced women when we feel we are broken because of love, lust, and unfortunately still common, forced advances that leave us a little less whole, a little less ourselves.

As the experience of men and women are all too different in the societies we live in, I have found the judgment has all too often come from not just the men, but also, and all-the-more harshly, from our female peers. In today’s world, we are more likely to shun the woman who has suffered misfortune in a sexual relationship. And instead of receiving her with compassion, as a society we condemn.

This is about learning to embrace even our darkest shadows and recognize them as the experiences that shape us. In learning to see the events as what they are, and what they are not. Specifically, that these events are not who we are, nor are they a reflection of our character as a woman.

In my experience, the deepest pain of social rejection after such events was the incredible depth of isolation. And the feeling of having been discarded even amongst those I called my friends, to fend for myself and with no one to trust or talk to.

As women, we have shared many of the same experiences, but we do not acknowledge or talk about them openly, choosing to keep them hidden due to a learned societal shame. But sometimes we find ourselves in a circle of women who do acknowledge this pain and willingly lend a sympathetic shoulder to lean on while we slowly regain our strength and trust again.

This support amongst other women, I believe, allows us to rise together. Stronger as a collective. What I would deem the true meaning of sisterhood. The cloak in this piece of poetry is a representation of this bond and kinship between women who hold each other up instead of bringing them down.

***

The darkness I shed…

… she is like a snake’s skin,
keeping me warm.

Misunderstood. But, in nights
when sheets lie cold,
and only ghosts
trace my skin,

she is the comforting cloak.

Joining woven sisters
through time.
Who weave.
And bleed.
And ache.
Sewing with needles
left in chests.

And when desolate frosts
teethe my bare soles,
it is she who lets me in
and nurses me, mends me.

With gentle gestures,
covering holes
between my ribs.
Keeping frigid from setting in.

Strength grows,
and is restored.
Nursed by milk
of mother’s tend,

kept close,
and held,
nearer to her breast.
without scorn
or scold.

A safe place
to hide and rest,
this weary crown.

New life-blood,
nourished, I emerge again.
In time
for golden harvests.

Warm-aired nights and
fresh honey-wine kisses,
a drought season thirst
is quenched.

Citrine beverage taste,
less bitter.
For renewed,
I am sweet again.

Lips, alike saccharine.
Taste the fruits
we fest on this eve.

Stain crimson on
our linen frocks,
The seeds
imprint their deed.

But as we live by cycles,
summers end.
As sand with time,
through our fingers
passes through.

Predicted, as our seasons change.
And our moon,
right as she wanes.

We are bare once more.
Stripped, like leaves from trees.
Bed of downy feathers
turns to stone.

Now, the shadows beckon,
whisper, in my ear,

“Come back to our cloak.”

And these pricked fingers
they will stitch
new threads,
pieces, making whole.

Together. We will keep us warm.
We’ll share our heat and mead.

Bound by shedding blood,
and ocean-caressed tears.
Earth, embrace our bones,
a welcome to us, home.

By the tides
we burn our pyre.
Dead wood and salted grain.
Turn past to glass
torch sand, and beckon,
“Turn the wheel again.”

The stars we greet
are our eyes.
Join us
watching for our sister
as we phase into the night.

We will keep her safe.
’Til she rejoins the light.
And in requite,

she passes on our cloak.

***

Arianna Hogan is a liberal arts woman. As an artist, writer, and entrepreneur, she pursues passion every day. She utilizes her empathic skills and creativity in her coaching business, helping women redefine their self-identity through language and lifestyle change. In her writing, she strives to portray the painful, inspired, and sometimes humorous feelings of human experience and honestly translate them to raw and honest words. You can expect her first novel, Marigolds and Dandelions, in June 2022. To learn more, visit her website.

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