Today is my birthday. If you’ve been hanging around for a while you know a couple of unshakeable things about me. I love poetry and I love touchstones. They are both important markers that keep my heart anchored.
A short while ago I discovered a poet who speaks so deeply to me it feels like a soul connection. And when I came across one of her poems I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt this was a touchstone I wanted to hang on to as I make this next journey around the sun.
Yesterday I asked the poet, Jena Strong, if she’d give me permission to post the poem on my blog. And she most graciously agreed. I feel like I’ve been given a most wonderful birthday blessing.
I‘m so happy to be able to share this poem with you and I suspect you’ll love it as well. But I want to be sure to acknowledge the gift this really is. It can be easy to forget in this age where it’s so easy to copy and forward things that this is copyrighted material. Please remember to respect that. And do go visit Jena Strong’s website, follow her on Facebook, buy her books, and read her poems. The world needs more poets and we need to support them as the treasures they are. And Jena Strong is certainly one to me.
Unfolded by Jena Strong
Every line on my face is a place I unfolded,
no longer compressed, no longer needing
to contain mystery after mystery,
no longer a matryoshka doll holding itself
in and in and in, kaleidoscopically hidden.
No, life has unfolded my careful origami,
like a middle or third name
too beautiful for the world not to hear,
each deep crevice a hint of healing
and heartache and hero’s journey.
It’s old-school, to remain folded up
like that, or to collapse like a mountain
unto itself, or to get so lost
in the folds of what happened
that you can no longer make out
the writing on the wall of your life,
which is to say how blue the sky is
in September, how kindly she caresses
the deep grooves between your eyes,
folded notes to be passed to a friend
between classes, perhaps—or birds
or buildings or an architecture
defying smooth textures. Let me be
creased, then, unfolded as a piece
of paper you’ve tucked inside
the pages of a heavy hardcover for years,
stumbled upon, blank, and fluently speaking
in a language you didn’t even know you knew.