Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Alice Walker poem, On Stripping Bark from Myself

I woke up thinking about this poem - a good day in the making if you wake up with words.

On Stripping Bark from Myself
(For Jane, Who Said Trees Die From It)

because women are expected to keep silent about
their close escapes I will not keep silent
and if I am destroyed (naked tree!) someone will
mark the spot
where I fall and know I could not live
silent in my own lies
hearing their "how nice she is!"
whose adoration of the retouched image
I so despise.

No. I am finished with living
for what my mother believes
for what my brother and father defend
for what my lover elevates
or what my sister, blushing, denies or rushes to embrace.

I find my own
small person
a standing self
against the world
an equality of wills
I have lived to understand.


My struggle was always against
an inner darkness: I carry within myself
the only known keys
to my death - to unlock life, or close it shut
forever. A woman who loves wood grains, the color
and the sun, I am happy to fight
all outside murderers
as I see I must.

-Alice Walker

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