On Identity and Image

poetry

Fill my lungs with your air once more
For my own will no longer sustain me
Let me feel life again
as my diaphragm expands
and a welcome presence enters
Do again what you did in the garden
Forming man in your likeness
and breathing into him
his very existence
Remake me by the spirit of the living God
So I can offer up my praise to the heavens

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The Making of You by Helen

Don’t you see that it could be the making of you?
As you stand here now, flooded by the pressures of life
Wondering how you are going to survive
Gasping for breath amidst responsibilities,
decisions, work, bills,
Circular problems that have you going dizzy
Because they don’t stop rearing their ugly head over and over.
And it’s tiring, and it weighs you down

But it could be the making of you.
And you should “look on the bright side”
And it sounds proposteous
because you’ve looked on the bright side before
and it hasn’t made it any brighter or any lighter.

But you should know that, it is ‘making you’ whether you like it or not.
It’s making you into something –
for better or for worse.
Building in you resilience, everyday that you persevere
And it’s giving you wisdom
so that next time that circular problem comes around you’ll be that bit wiser,
That bit closer to solving it.

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Have I lived well? That’s the question I’m asking myself as I sift through these boxes, dusting off old photographs of people I haven’t seen in years, and birthday cards inscribed with messages, which boldly say we’ll forever be friends. The truth is we’re just not that close anymore.

Did I spend my time the right way? I ponder as I discard old essays which I don’t remember writing, and postcards and trinkets from countries I’m sure I’ve never visited; souvenirs of experiences which have no bearing on my own. I suppose they were once worth keeping but now they will be lining a black bag.

Is this what my life amounts to? I ask as I pull an ancient phone and a physics exercise book out of a warped brown box and I remember the way I flunked that exam. And I recall the fight I had over the phone causing my first relationship to crumble shortly after. A feeling of failure washes over me.

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Be You by Helen Sherwin

It must be such hard work having to be that person all the time.
Constantly pushing out that same image,
Not letting it slip for one second.

Because people look to you to be that way.
You have a following.
And you can’t let them down.
No, you won’t let them down.

But is it really you?
Or just an image you’ve created of yourself?
An image people like,
You liked once.

But now it’s exhausting.
Aren’t you a bit tired?
What if you put it down?

That’s it, stop for just a minute.
Take a step back,
and breathe.

OK now start again.
But this time:
Don’t be anybody else –
Just be you.

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Wounds by Helen Sherwin

As a soldier returned from war I am wounded.
Not by weapons nor explosions,
But your words have wounded me,
In a way only those closest to me can see.

You took the place of God,
When you used your power to pull the rug
Out from underneath my once steady feet,
And the house from over my head as well.Read More →

I See Beauty by Helen Sherwin

Look in the mirror,
What do you see?
Imperfection before perfection,
The wounds from the battle field
marking your face,
The haggard life
of a once beautiful wife,
Fading years,
Tear after tear stained eyes,
Lines –
where they shouldn’t be,
for someone so young.Read More →