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“I don’t know Who — or what — put the question,
I don’t know when it was put.
I don’t even remember answering.
But at some moment I did answer
Yes
to Someone — or Something —
and from that hour
I was certain that existence is meaningful
and that, therefore, my life in self-surrender, had a goal.”
~Dag Hammarskjöld

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For Strong Women

by: Marge Piercy

(discovered in:  The Heroine’s Journey)

A strong woman is a woman who is straining.

A strong woman is a woman standing on tiptoe

and lifting a barbell while trying to sing Boris Godunov.


A strong woman is a woman at work

cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,

and while she shovels, she talks about

how much she doesn’t mind crying,

it opens the the ducts of the eyes, and

throwing up develops the stomach muscles, and

she goes on shoveling with tears in her nose.


A strong woman is a woman in whose head

a voice is repeating, I told you so,

ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,

ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,

why aren’t you feminine, why aren’t you soft,

why aren’t you quiet, why aren’t you dead?


A strong woman is a woman determined to do something

others are determined not be done.

She is pushing up on the bottom of a lead coffin lid.

She is trying to raise a manhole cover with her head,

she is trying to butt her way through a steel wall.

Her head hurts.

People waiting for the hole to be made say,

hurry, you’re so strong.


A strong woman is a woman bleeding inside.

A strong woman is a woman making herself strong

every morning while her teeth loosen and her back throbs.

Every baby, a tooth, midwives used to say,

and now every battle a scar.

A strong woman is a mass of scar tissue

that aches when it rains…

and wounds that bleed when you bump them…

and memories that get up in the night

and pace in boots to and fro.


A strong woman is a woman who craves love

like oxygen or she turns blue choking.

A strong woman is a woman who loves strongly

and weeps strongly…

and is strongly terrified…

and has strong needs.


A strong woman is strong in words, in action,

in connection, in feeling, she is not strong as stone

but as a wolf suckling her young.

Strength is not in her,

but she enacts it as the wind fills a sail.


What comforts her is others loving her equally

for the strength

and for the weakness  from which it issues,

lightning from a cloud. Lightning stuns.

In rain, the clouds disperse.

Only water of connection remains,

flowing through us.

Strong is what we make each other.

Until we are all strong together,

a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.

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dandelionseeds1

Relationships I Don’t Want, Clarify Those I Do Want…


Whenever you know what you do not want,

you always know more clearly what you do want,

so in a poignant moment of awareness

of another person’s undesirable situation,

give your undivided attention

to the idea of improvement

that has hatched

from your interaction/observation.


And as you learn to do that,

not only will you be of increasing value to others,

but you will see

how your relationships with others

adds immeasurably

to your own becoming.


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