Fenced in

Don’t fence me in
with your rulers. Don’t tell me
how to measure my world!

I bear the wounds of years struggling through
the thickets of others’ judgements
thorny with their precise gradations
hopelessly hoping to reach some clearing
where I could be at peace
having finally contorted myself enough
to fit comfortably between their pricking thorns.
Trying to force the world to allow us all to be right.

But now wisdom tells me
I will find no such clearing, so long as I
agree to walk within their woods.
To measure myself with their silly wooden sticks
that cannot comprehend the weight of my burdens.

Often now a protective caul of anger
or better, a laser of insight,
burns away the imprisoning thorns

Until plain in the sky above me
shine the stars of love and justice
by which I will steer my course.

A lot of what I’ve learnt this last year is to be more selective about which of the judgements others make about me I accept for myself. And I’m getting a lot of practice just now at protecting myself – by being more aware of the factors that might lead someone to make mistaken judgements about me. Also I have developed a feeling for what I’m like, deep down, which enables me to say, no, I’m not like that.

I’m navigating a very difficult time at work, and sometimes people’s views of me do start to get to me – particularly at night, when I can’t seem to brush them off so easily as in the day. It’s like a little horde of lilliputians coming and sawing on me with their tiny rulers – which isn’t conducive to sleeping! And out of these feelings came this poem… it would benefit from polishing but I wanted to say this now!

The photo is Barbed wire sun., originally uploaded to flickr by stonefaction.


7 responses to “Fenced in

  1. It’s hard to keep other’s opinions from bothering you but still be open enough to be friends.

  2. It sounds like you’re growing wiser with each month. Your poem reflects the evolution of a woman finding her own voice, her own motivations. I cheer the sentiments wholeheartedly.

  3. too often we have to accommodate the constraints of others, and their opinions.

  4. I love “rulers” in the first stanza. I was thinking you were going to say “rules” and “rulers” was a fresh surprise!

    Love the whole thing and how you are changing. Very evident that you are getting “taller” with each word you write.

  5. You tell ’em girl!

    Cool poem.

  6. well said, especially the first stanza

  7. I like this. I really do. I feel the same way, sometimes. I feel conformity and adhering to something other than your true self is sure-fire death.

    Keep fighting. Awesome poem.


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