YOU CAN, BUT I CANNOT

YOU CAN, BUT I CANNOT

You can
call me names,
call out my flaws,
falsify what
you never saw,
slap my jaw,
parade around
man of straw,
throw me around,
for I’ve no quick-draw,

try to ice me with your cold,
so I can never thaw,
fling me down
some endless maw,
act as though my gifts from G-d
are no reason for dropping jaw,
tell me my words matter not,
that I just hem and haw,
you say nothing happened
when it was stars I saw.

You can
throw me to the floor,
bang my head
against the door,
slam my hands
in the drawer,
overwhelm my pleas
with your roar,
take my oars
so I can’t reach shore,
take everything I’ve got–
demand you’re owed more,
slash my sails
so I cannot soar,
insist my plea for life
is to you, an act of war.

You can
try to erase me,
try to outpace me,
you can bellow
I wont escape the chase,
you can put me away
in a lonely place,
tell me I ought not
show my face,
take from my deck,
for yourself, all the aces,
you can cram me
into your personal vases,
bad mouth me
tell everyone
I deserve no kindly spaces.

You can strip me of
my dignity,
toss my corpse
away abhorrently,
you can try to force
me to act abortively,
you can say the truths
I tell, are absurdities,

But I promise you this
though you can
try to break me,
my heart and more,
tho you call me a whore,
tell me I am wrong
to the core…

you cannot have
the Sun inside me
the One who glows
all the more–
no matter what comes,
no matter what goes–
You cannot still,
nor stop the Sun
that glows inside me.

Even in blood,
this Sun shines,
even surrounded by black,
this Sun grows the vine,
even though you try to
take from me ‘my Thine’
even though you
hurl and break my holy shrines,
this Sun is in no decline,
this Sun is my sign
that my soul is safe times nine.

You can take what is takeable,
even as you maim my heart,
try to tame my wild,
break my smile.
But no matter what
no matter the trials,
no matter those who make fun,
take joy, in my being shunned,
I cannot give you my Sun.

I cannot,
will never, as long as
there is breath,
even as you attempt
to demean me by stealth,
for my Sun is
my insurrection against death,
my Light will one day I pray,
bring me again
to a new day
of complete resurrection.

_________________

The poem YOU CAN, BUT I CANNOT, ©1965, 2016, by clarissa pinkola estés

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