Saturday, September 13, 2008

Proud Flesh

"For What Binds Us"

There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down --
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

as all flesh,
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest --

And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.

Jane Hirschfield


It's a poem I turn to time and time again when I'm feeling vulnerable to self-pity, coping with loss, or needing to be reminded of why we fight, of why we need to keep going even when we feel like folding in on ourselves. It's a strengthening poem...an anchor...a reminder that "easy" and "strong" are not synonymous.

1 comment:

  1. My Grandmother died yesterday afternoon and I can't explain how much this poem reminds me of her. I will think of this poem during this time when all I want to do is curl into a ball and cry.

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