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In times of rocky hope, when circumstance
has piled heaps, and I can’t touch, taste, see
my place amidst Infinity, no chance,
I feel disgraced, the very stuff of me
misplaced, it’s good to be reminded that
three strands I own to pull me out like
rope, to knit or weave like worsted wool, pat
and firm, unbreakable, no stronger dike.
Each strand of 3-ply strength retains a name
that no one but myself can weaken, and
I have: to please and score, avenge, defame…
Yet beauty, faith, desire remain, a band
I shall employ today, five little songs
arranged to bid the miscreants, so long!


Beautiful is what I am, adored by
every cell and molecule, the center
of Creation through which anything I
see may be. Through you, this beauty enters
too, no greater, lesser, but by thought. Now
here is where the trouble starts. Someone laid
a trap across the path to disallow
the knowledge that I’m beautiful, preyed
because they had forgot. I saw grotesque
in disapproving faces of the ones
I loved. Warned to battle ego, a test
of vanity against my native sun.
Today, I reinstate my radiance,
and all Creation revels in the dance.


First and foremost, may I say, this f-word’s
not a fevered rant on what you believe.
That, my friend, is bigotry. My inward
strand of faith requires no proof, relieves;
the proof is aftermath. Shy guide, he leads
me through my dreams and inclinations, seeks
no solace or consent, yet draws a bead
on what I want and how, ignores the cliques
who whisper and complain. As traces of
what I once knew as true, this brand of faith
is elevated memory fueled by love.
Agree or not, you’ll see it on my face,
and yours will turn you toward me or away.
It matters not. We’ll meet some other day.


Is there a thread so frayed, so tattered by
the righteous and afraid than that which holds
the course of what I want, and more? To lie
in bed with my desire, to rise, enfold
the wanting, every moment grow, my friend,
this is the why! I won’t consent to crawl
for you nor call it sin. Our life will end,
but not this love of living, no! In all
that comes to me, desire paves the way; she
braids my faith and beauty to a seamless
robe, a testament with no debate, free
to feel and think and procreate. I bless
by throwing windows open to desire,
receive in turn the consummating fire.


And so, with misadventure far behind,
bright shining moments joined, assemblies pure
with expectation and delight, I find
more cause than ever to be sure
that what I think and feel about myself
brings light sufficient to the rest. The road
you take, if true to beauty, faith, yourself,
will cross with mine, it must, but what you load
of pain is yours alone. I can but sing
these songs and listen for small harmonies,
while near at hand, I know, some greater thing
awaits with joy, the spirited to please.
Some glimpse of me you may, at times, suspect;
howe’er it looks, we are not finished yet.


*Sonnet: from Italian, soneto, meaning “little song”

© Elaine Stirling, 2014
Image from Ewe and Me Yarns