An old friend


In high school, many years ago,  I had to write an essay about this poem.  Today, the first lines popped into my head.  I struggled to remember the poem with no luck.  Fortunately, I recalled enough of the poem to find it on the internet.   It strikes me as powerfully now as it did then.  Perhaps because  I am struggling with my “new” post-injury identity.  In a sense, I am the same person as before.  But, there have been so many changes in my life and my ability to live it that I feel different.  Perhaps identity is something we always work to create.  Sometimes, a major event happens that is an upheaval rather than a quiet, gentle progression of change.

Identity

Let them be as flowers,
always watered, fed, guarded, admired,
 but harnessed to a pot of dirt.
 I’d rather be a tall, ugly weed,
 clinging on cliffs, like an eagle
wind-wavering above high, jagged rocks.
To have broken through the surface of stone,
to live, to feel exposed to the madness
of the vast, eternal sky.
To be swayed by the breezes of an ancient sea,
carrying my soul, my seed, beyond the mountains of time
or into the abyss of the bizarre
 I’d rather be unseen, and if then shunned by everyone,
than to be a pleasant-smelling flower,
growing in clusters in the fertile valleys,
where they’re praised, handled, and plucked
by greedy, human hands.
I’d rather smell of musty, green stench
 than of sweet, fragrant lilac.
 If I could stand alone, strong and free,
I’d rather be a tall, ugly weed.  
 
Julio Noboa
 

The poem still speaks to me today.  It is combined hope, yearning for freedom, and the ability to be true to one’s own self with the fear of being different.  I love the weed analogy.  People hate having weeds in their garden.  Yet, they are inevitable.  They are also tough to kill.   To be a weed among flowers.  Is it a bad thing?

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