women behind bars write with one heart

let the heart leadEach month, women behind bars in Burlington, VT write with their community mentors as part of writinginsideVT.  Of course, the mentors will leave after the two hour session – a fact that always tugs at their hearts.

In this particular session, after mentor/mentee pairs shared individual writings prompted by the poem ‘Prayer’ by Lisa Colt, they were invited to put their words together in joint found poems. The poem, below,  weaves all those words into one found poem that truly expresses the universality of our lives as women, inside or out. Our desires, our fears, our longings for personal growth and change.

Let the Heart Lead the Beat

let me abandon shame
            blame that solves nothing
                        the deepest wound, the misguided light
                                    that demonize one’s misfortunes

let my inner darkness peel away
            let me step into the light of my own soul
                        filled with exhilaration and fear –
                                    abundance is not shameful

what shall I listen to, what shall I hear?
             the question repeating itself, never ending
                        paces myself like the tides
                                    of soulful waters

may I laugh away burdens
            put my worries into boxes
                        still the grand gestures of sadness;
                                    not replay and question the past

may I knit a life that captures
            prayers for tranquility, for singing
                        filled with chants for reaching out
                                    assuring movement toward possibility

may I be smooth like the warm stones by the water
            my soulful longing fulfilled
                        as this season moves
                                    outward in compassion

. . . and you?

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