Saturday, June 30, 2012


An onomatopoeic word:
The initial "s" is steeling oneself;
The "t" is defiance of fear;
"Reng" is mental or physical force;
And the "th" as in "So there!"!

Strength is movement of muscles:  biceps, triceps, deltoid;
A ballet dancer's legs, a construction worker's arms,
A woman balancing a toddler on one hip and on the other a grocery bag;
It is made of frown lines, compressed lips, curled fists, a determined stare...

Female Ballet DancerStrength is measured in buckets of sweat,
Liters of tears held back,
Blood coursing through veins like a river in spate;
It is made of "No, I will not!" and "Yes, I can!"

Sometimes strength is going back
Into the burning building, the sinking ship;
Then forward, ascending, rock by rock
With someone who trusts you clinging to your back.

And also strength is getting up
Out of bed when there's nothing to do,
And no one (anymore)
To do it with.

It is summoning the breath
To blow out the candles on your birthday cake -- your ninety-first
And, on the whole, being glad that it's not too late,
Even now, it is not too late (though it may be mistaken for stubbornness)

To be strong.

Birthday Cake


  1. Yes, yes and YES! This is how strength works in my house...frown lines, compressed lips, curled fists and a determined stare....every day, I wake and say, "I can't" and every day a voice says, "Yes you will". Your words spoke to me. Thanks!!

    1. Thanks so much. I feel so honored when my words reach someone, especially someone with extraordinary challenges and the will and strength to face them.

  2. I see you have been inside my head again. You just have a way of finding something so universal each reader feels it was written for them. Getting up when there's nothing to do and no one to do it with is a common and all too oft repeated feeling for so many people in my life. The opposite is also strength, the too busy, too obligated, too promised person who does it all, at a personal price.
    So marvelously done. ♥

  3. Thanks, Jo. Yes, I'm familiar with the kind of person you describe who tries to be all things to all people. I tend to be more chary with my time and energy -- except when it comes to my grandkids.