In this blog, I share my poem, "Up From the Ashes," from my book, Dance With Your Healing: Tears Let Me Begin to Speak. I choose this poem, from this book, on this day, because the expression of coming full circle, and of being part of Circle with family, friends, and colleagues, speaks to the fact that life always breathes life. I am elated by the lived-experience that words save and honour lives, daily; and that no matter the injustice done against us or that we have done, we "die" and we "rise." On Friday, Good Friday, I went to the "old hood" with my dear friends, Mary and Paul Rellinger. Mary and I lived on the same street as young children: Maybourne Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario. The same street where Easter Monday, March 27, 1978, many lives changed, and unbeknownst to me, that brutal day would see the gift of paradox from which healing and hope would grow. Today is Easter Sunday, and in this season of Spring, as new life rises from below the mud, sprouts upon bare branches, new life richly scented in Sawbonna's invitation to see and to be seen, I celebrate Phoenix, Thunderbird, and Circle: full-circle. I celebrate resurrection's generous call for us to remember that new life grows from the ashes, from the wounds, from the losses. And newness glows, glistens, and invites with-ness-ing of our shared-humanity, no matter the the loss.
UP FROM THE ASHES
Hand fashioning my own spirit
Is coupled with letting go of his.
The dance is held fast,
By the two bullets that
Found themselves holding the blood
That poured from his flesh,
And struggles to break into mad movement,
Young man. Father. Drowning into the other space
Into which we could not follow.
So language began to bleed forth.
Began to be necessary.
Travel, changing air and space,
Country and place,
Driving in old buses in strange lands,
Hearing the tone of new tongues.
Attempting to demand succour,
Forgiveness, strength, daily.
But now I know that new life is
Growing up from the ashes,
Into the sky.
Bluer than blue
Begins to be known.
Language begins to dance
To reel, to ripple, to fly.
Forgiveness begins to grow upon
the pages that wear my words,
As newness glistens.
As healing grows.
(c) Margot Van Sluytman