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Barbara Mitchell

About this Christian Poet:
Barbara's poetry has been published in approximately 200 periodicals, including publications in Europe and Asia, and her work has been translated into Braille for the blind as well as many other languages. Barbara has also acted as an associate editor of a poetry anthology and has judged many poetry competitions. She has twice won first place for her poetry in the Canadian Church Press Awards, an annual award for the best Christian poem appearing in the Canadian press.

Small Courage

It has taken twelve years
to break the vow of silence you made me swear to
twelve years of love smashed into my eyes
to realize
true gifts are not intrusive
they do not bind the spirit
you hostaged my days
with cruel imitations of love burning my wrists
and my hope bound in livid cords
around my throat

even now
as I attempt to negotiate freedom
a smile crouches at the corner of your mouth
and the loud noise of your anger is black confusion on my skin

still
I do not flinch
at the upsweep of your arm
as it moves to pronounce your final gift

a small courage stammers into being
and strength unfolds from the cowering past
I break free from our worn vow
like a snapped rib
and from the cracked well of my lips
I protest these years of madness
It has taken twelve years to forgive the starving destiny
locked within these limbs
twelve years for my wounds to return to themselves

now
I re-invent myself on new hope
shaped to the curve of my bone
new reason to live
warm as my own blood

now
I recite a new vow
that does not bleed
from the mouth

Copyright©1997 by Barbara Mitchell