Once I thought it was strong and good
to drift naked through the world
making a virtue of vulnerability
a naturist beach of honesty
And I thought it was weak and timid
to crave a shell to hide my softness
Yet the wind is cold and the salt sea bites
and seagulls hungrily circle
And everyone needs a shell at times.
I want a shell that is light as a bubble
that does not weigh down my dancing
I want a shell that is strong as diamond
that protects me when beaks attack
I want a shell as transparent as crystal
with curtains I can close and open
I want a shell that fits me perfectly
that neither cramps nor outpaces my growth
I want a shell that allows my light to shine out
and still protects it from being drowned
And I want a shell where I can sit and sift
all the wonders of the worldwide ocean.
This poem is a response for the call from shoretags- the hermit crab poetry housing project, which Dana (from mygorgeoussomewhere) has been working on. It kicked off a poem which develops some themes from earlier in this blog (e.g. my posts on masks and fears) about getting the right balance between protection and openness. The poem started with just the last 6 stanzas… which do rather stand alone, but I felt it needed some sort of prelude to put all that in context.