Anger Poem

Finding Your Freedom

I wrote this poem at a time in my life when I struggled to find my true self free from the 20th century's social constraints against women manifested in my life by the legacy passed down to me from my mother.

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The Red Shoes


Published by Family Friend Poems December 28, 2023 with permission of the Author.

When I was a young girl,
My mother gave me
A red pair of shoes.
They'd been hers, her mother's
And grandmother's.
They'd never wear out, she said,
No matter what.

They were worn and wrinkled
And weren't my size,
But I put them on
Because she had
And danced as she had done
When a girl, young wife, and mother.

It was the dance to do,
The only one she knew,
The one her mother had danced to,
And now, she said,
I give these shoes to you.

Reluctantly, I danced the dance,
The silent ballet of my youth,
My first marriage failures.
The red shoes did not let me stop.
They danced down my nights and days.
They danced down the decades
And, in my despair and tears,
They danced down the years.

Had not my soul's red hot coals
Stopped them dead in their tracks,
I might have been dancing still.
But my fingers, those Queen claws,
Reached down to clutch and claw
Until, at last, the red shoes
Let go.

I lifted my burning feet,
Bruised, bloody, and raw,
To an old rain mother
Who kissed them
With her eternal breath
And cooled them
With her lovingkindness
Until my feet were moving
On their own.

In time, I gave birth
To a barefoot baby
Who must not see
The red shoes in her play,
Nor hear them clattering
In her closet.
So I will dig down deep
And bury them with my rage,
That fiery bulldozer,
And there will be
Another wearing,
Another running,
Another dance.


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