Poet Grow-op - Winter 2017

  

Addy Strickland

Adelaide is a first year student at StFX University in the social justice colloquium, and is planning on majoring in English and Development Studies. When she isn't writing or studying, you can find her taking photos, watching endless TED Talks, or daydreaming about the places she'll travel when she graduates.

 

Villages

Adelaide Strickland

 

Some parents will tell you

it takes a village to raise a child.

To teach her how to say please

and thank you;

how to apologize when

she’s done something wrong

and mean it;

how to apologize when she hasn't

and sound like she means it.

They'll tell you it takes a village

to teach her how to add.

One plus one is two,

two plus two is four,

Girl plus life is beautiful,

and never forget to carry the one.

They'll tell you it takes a village

to teach her to subtract -

the bad from a good day,

herself from a bad day,

the lies from the things

they will try and tell her.

 

It takes a village to raise a child

they say.

To teach her that good things

come in threes,

but not to believe in superstitions;

and that her thoughts

are only worth a penny

if she doesn't market them for more.

To teach her that the sky is blue,

except sometimes it's not -

and maybe not knowing is okay…

but she'll ask anyway,

because it takes a village

to raise a child who asks questions,

just like it takes a village

to raise a child who won't.

 

But sometimes,

a village will fall apart -

it's rooftops turning to dust

as walls fall down around her

and so sometimes

she'll have to build her own.

She'll build lopsided skyscrapers

with no stairs

out of the lego bricks she's saved,

then fill them with women

who bend themselves into ladders

to help each other up.

Or, she'll build long, low houses

with no roofs

so that she can imagine she's flying

when she lies down to sleep each night,

but wake up each morning

with her feet

firmly planted on the ground.

 

She will collect people

like postage stamps

and fill her lego houses

with the ones that stick.

The red house on the corner

will be for the first boy

to ever take her out for coffee.

Next door, her first best friend.

And in her village you will find teachers -

the good ones

who taught her how to love herself

and how to make 5’2” look tall -

but also those who told her not to speak,

that her voice wasn’t worthy -

because it was through rebellion

that she learned to shout.

 

You see,

some parents will tell you

that it takes a village to raise a child,

but sometimes the village you're given

isn't the one that you need.

Sometimes, it is a child who

builds her own village, and sometimes -

it is a child

who raises a village from the dust.

 

 

The Blue Nun

Adelaide Strickland

 

In habit dark and gentle blue

dark secrets came of lust

when in he who stood at altar

a faithful nun did trust.

 

For years she’d longed for more

than simple convent life could give

forced unto it by her parents

no choice in how she lived.

 

Now a happenstance encounter

in the too harsh light of the day

brought love affair by midnight

an abstinence betrayed.

 

Many faults does passion have

known all too well by she

as an unexpected absence

proved our couple was now three.

 

Neither were of wealthy homes

nor plentiful in kin

knew nothing but the convent life

least how to face such sin.

 

With broken faith a burden now

so clearly etched in stone

rashness overtook our nun

as she walked the halls alone.

 

Up the spiral stair she went

and drew one final breath

as to the newly frost kissed ground

she flung herself to death.

 

Lover’s footsteps did entwine

once more upon those steps

as her priest in lovelorn agony

wound a rope around his neck.

 

Now centuries have been and gone

since last our lovers met,

yet still they roam the very halls

that witnessed both their deaths.

 

 

The Author

Adelaide Strickland

 

I like to think that the Bible

was once just a regular old book

written by a struggling writer -

seeking the audience that would take it

and make it their own.

I like to think that it was a work of fiction

invented by a man

invented by a woman

just wanting to make someone smile

or make someone cry

because isn't that what all writers strive for?

At what moment,

I wonder,

did this story turn into the relic we see now

when did our realities start relying on fiction

the way a blind man relies on a cane

I wonder what they would say -

the author -

if they could see us now.

Would they take pride in the product

of their work

or would they shiver with disgust

at the thought that their work

is what led us here?

 

What would I do

if my work turned into this

what would I do if my stories came true?

Tell me,

who would follow my words?

Who would follow

to the point of no return?

Tell me so I can convince them not to.