Category Archives: Poetry

Out of the Box

Skills: Poetry

From Contributor: Hannah Poet Farmer

Note from Heidi: Here’s some inspiration to Get Out of the Box for 2013! This year I got la-la-la-love for myself in bloom…

Here’s a pair of boxing gloves

They are seashell pink and platinum spider-dew

They feel like swan down or sex or your first gulp of air

when you surface from deep beneath sea

and suddenly:             a world of sun

and birds again

and kids shouting on the beach


Put on your gloves, gal, ooo-ee

Shh—they are magic

But they don’t give black eyes

these gloves, they

Knock out boxes, all those damn walls

All those damp and lonely corners

All the boxes that cramp your wings

All the concrete rules

All the jack-in-the-box thoughts that pop up

and try to make you turn down your glory


Hey! What’s your mind for? A chatter-box? A jail cell?

Or is it a bowl, a river valley, the most lovely blue dish

where sparrows sip the rain, ideas percolate

schemes hatch, roadtrips fledge, natives boogie

& freedom unpacks its suitcase

and moves in


Gal, the only box you need is for treasure

for all the booty of a life lived well,

bedazzled with courage and in-betweens

all the maybes and not-quites that are more real,

more shimmering a moth than any specimen

in a case, that’s neatly labeled and pinned down


You da shit, gal!

You’re the golden spoon

With your magic gloves

& your treasure box

& your la-la-la love

in bloom.


565775_10151045775841685_1843388133_nAbout the Contributor:

Hannah Inglesby hails from the hills and hollows of central Pennsylvania. She wrote her first poem at age four. She loves to dance. Since graduating in 2010 from Warren Wilson College, she has dug beets, scrubbed floors, and climbed trees at Kimberton Hills, an agricultural village that includes adults with developmental disabilities. Since summer 2012, she’s been writing “Free Range Poems” at farmer’s market and for friends and passersby. She now works in a group home in her hometown. In whatever she does, she hopes to integrate her passions for healing, gardens, and the arts.


The Suspicious Glance of Women

Skills: Poetry

From Contributor: Hannah Poet Farmer

Note from Heidi: I absolutely love this poem by the oh-so-talented Hannah. When she first shared it with me, it made me cry. It inspired the Reclaiming Beauty mantra: “I cultivate relationships with women based on collaboration versus comparison/competition.” Please post your thoughts in the comments below… such an important, healing reclaiming beauty topic.

 She’s got curves, like you—

maybe you hate yours and hate yourself in her or

you hate yours and wish you were like her

or you hate yourself for liking her.

In any or, her body’s landscape

can make you cringe with longing that’s almost

lewd, as if you were sizing her up on the street, mapping her

as if you feel yourself as her, being wanted

by the hungry ghostman who judges always

from your mind.

And there it is: your heart sinks again

as you come up short, less-than, deformed

bobbing up an ugly duck

while all the smooth fish glint below



how you could be feelin’ fly

but one wittier or prettier or kinder or a better dancer

enters stage right

and then you want to shrink so you’re small and pure

as a shard of light, hollow-boned as a starling at sunset

a shape that doesn’t hulk, doesn’t sulk

doesn’t swallow more than it deserves.

Comparisons bare teeth.  They fester.  They turn us away

from dearest friends, driving wedges, chopping trees,

plundering the earth in reckless one-upmanship

to be like, have the look, the beat, the heart, the skin

the car, the art,

the toenails

of others.

Dear fertile comfort, thorough-going starry deep

let me drop all this sodden suspicion and stop

reducing strong women

to thighs and upper arms

Different.  What’s this?  Not less than, not even

so different.

Lights can combine instead of shade.

If I judge myself, then find, in you, my judged self only

see our golden bridges sundered.

Wait. But I am me. Yes I am me. Me is me. Me is

We. We can breathe.  See me. Me-you, you-me.

See me full.  See my spirit.

Float on a sea. The sea is Beauty. Beauty a sea.

No one can claim pieces, in honesty

of a force so vast and fluid

tugged by the moon, all we women awash

in tides, no longer tired

bathed by magic.

Why are we not swimming naked in the moonlight

and climbing apple trees

and drawing mustaches on all the mannequins, by night?

Why do we live by rules we hate

then hate those of us who live by them better?

We are not sausage meat to stuff in foreign skins

far from our mossy homes

where we weren’t afraid of losing our power

by giving birth or crying

or sleeping when we need it.

So why not use our pantyhose to drip jelly?

Why not sit with knees splayed and howl

with laughter—

Not just sometimes, but forever

and not have to sneak it, not call it a guilty treat,

but live in plenty.

We do this, yes! We do this at our best.

But it’s a fight, and we need our swords

and we need our open hands

our empty cups for alms

and our platters full of food—

which we share.

Which makes us grin and glow

as we gaze at each other, twinkly-eyed.


About the Contributor:

Hannah Inglesby hails from the hills and hollows of central Pennsylvania. She wrote her first poem at age four. She loves to dance. Since graduating in 2010 from Warren Wilson College, she has dug beets, scrubbed floors, and climbed trees at Kimberton Hills, an agricultural village that includes adults with developmental disabilities. Since summer 2012, she’s been writing “Free Range Poems” at farmer’s market and for friends and passersby. She now works in a group home in her hometown. In whatever she does, she hopes to integrate her passions for healing, gardens, and the arts.

The Beauty of Kindness

For Halloween, I want to dress up as my soul name for this year: Death Virgo Empress Queen. I would walk the streets of Asheville, dressed in my costume, and hand out this poem to everyone I passed. With a soft smile, I would take the opportunity to silently remind those I came in contact with that our suffering is what connects us – that the inner chasm of loss and grief creates a vulnerability, an open space for love to fill in the cracks, like caulk.  One of my favorite poems… I offer it to you today as a reminder of the beauty of the two deepest things inside: sorrow and kindness.


by: Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

 Image: Kathryn Andersen Soul Collage Cards

An Encounter with a Poetic Troubadour

Recently, I came across a talented woman whose specialty was creating spontaneous poetry. All she asked for was a topic. She then began spinning her intricate web of words and images. Not surprisingly, the topic I suggested was BEAUTY. Here’s the glorious poem she came up with on the spot:

On Beauty

A perpetual question of inner & outer

Enthralled by the cascade of rainbow from a prism

Or within prism itself, where light transmutes and gathers

Reflection: the image in a cold hard mirror


Reflection: the deep internal stream, looking in

where swim the fishes of our dreams

& sun dapples the silt floor

where the bones of our ancestors nourish us

& lilies grow up and unfurl

into thousand-petal stars. Then

Lotus beauty. Stray cat beauty. Pigeon beauty.

A rainbow a rainbow whether oil spot or sky.

Shards are beautiful. Mosaic emerging

from broken clay.

Even a limp can speak grace

a lisp create peace to the masses

a dimple bespeak glaciers or peaches or patience

~Hannah Poet Farmer


I’ve Got the Power

Peacock Power

I am now in the last month of my Hanged Man growth cycle year and have been reflecting on the breakdown/breakthrough opportunities this year brought me. As I shared in the post SPARKLE = POWER, I realize that this process of breaking and releasing stuck patterns, although it can be challenging and painful, leads to freedom and reclaiming power. Power is a major component in my personal definition of beauty. Here are some ways I claimed my POWER this year:

+ Bikram Yoga 3 times a week = has helped with my health,  my energy level, my back pain, feeling strong and POWERful in my body, and creating more and more flexibility and openness physically and emotionally – not to mention feeling strong and powerful in my body also helps me feel hot and sexy!

+ Chiropractic = chronic back pain resurfacing served as an opportunity to heal the patterns in my spine… I committed to a healing process with Dr. Jennifer Liming at the end of April and this month was featured as her Patient of the Month due to my success (read my testimonial here to learn how Dr. Jennifer can help to turn your POWER on: Dr. Jennifer’s testimonial)

+ Seeking my own approval = in June I took the brave step to separate from my husband (healing love to him) whose inability to deeply value and desire my beauty created internal questioning of my worth physically, emotionally & spiritually, leading me deeper into my own reclaiming beauty process

+ Sitting with aloneness = rather than dwelling on the perceived rejection from the breakdown of my relationship, I have been working on deeply loving and accepting myself in my aloneness, recognizing that in order to stand POWERfully in intimate relationships my next lover needs to be ME

A POEM that has been guiding this process for me:


Willing to experience aloneness,
I discover connection everywhere;
Turning to face my fear,
I meet the warrior who lives within;
Opening to my loss,
I gain the embrace of the universe;
Surrendering into emptiness,
I find fullness without end.
Each condition I flee from pursues me,
Each condition I welcome transforms me
And becomes itself transformed
Into its radiant jewel-like essence.
I bow to the one who has made it so,
Who has crafted this Master Game.
To play it is purest delight;
To honor its form–true devotion.

– Jennifer Welwood

And a SONG  that is my current MANTRA and has been guiding this process for me: I’ve Got The Power – by SNAP

Another song from my POWER playlist… oh, Kanye, you are so very pompous, but we could all use a bit of your CONFIDENCE: Power – by Kanye West

Today I stand with confidence that I am doing the challenging work of walking my Reclaiming Beauty talk with integrity. I can be a testament to the truth that this process of Walking in Beauty is hard, but so worth it.

I would love to hear ways you have been claiming your POWER this year. In the comments below, please share some of your power wielding inspiration.

If you are interested in learning more about your tarot PERSONALITY/SOUL symbols and your current GROWTH CYCLE YEAR, send me an email. I am currently offering tarot readings that will include this information on a sliding scale.

In the words of Kanye… At the end of the day, I’m killing this sh%t!,

I’ve got the power!


Image: Elizabeth St. Hilaire Nelson

Tagged , ,

Speak With Me Body

Soul Collage Card: May 2012

Befriending our bodies is an important first step in the Reclaiming Beauty process. As women in this society obsessed with extreme thinness, we are so used to waging war on our bodies. However, this style of relating to ourselves just perpetuates shame and a desire to escape the pain with addictive, compulsive behaviors. Developing a loving, trusting relationship with our body gives an opportunity to benefit from its wisdom. I love this poem about listening to and honoring the messages of the body from Mili Dillard, the facilitator for a recent Soul Collage training I participated in.

What would it take for you to develop this kind of respectful, loving relationship with your body?   

Speak With Me Body

Speak with me body

Tell me our truths.

Rumbling, shaking,

Contracting, then stretching out.

Trembling with your imminent proclamation,

Now very barely below the surface.

Perhaps it is time.

We are ready you and I

As our closely held secrets

Move nearer to your lips.

Not my little mouth lips

Instead our deepest lips of skin and muscle

Lips pursed from holding back

What has so long gone un-uttered.

Together we speak truth.

Listen with me body

Let us hear our truths

Listening fully and intently,

To these pieces of our story so ready to be heard.

Hearing not with my little head ears

Instead with our ears of sensation, felt sense, images,

Inner voices

Our deepest hearing ears

Together we hear truth.

Know with me body

Let us both know our truths,

Now ready to receive and accept fully.

Me trusting you enough

Me loving me enough

To know, really know, you do not lie.

Knowing with our body-mind,

Together we know truth.

Speak with me body

Speak through me body

Let us speak, hear, and know Truth


Releasing that which we are ready to release

Accepting ourselves more fully than before

Feeling radiant love from the Source…our Source.

Giving and receiving,

Our efforts are grace filled

And freedom is ours.

I Want A Red Dress

The poem that best captures where I am at THIS MOMENT on my Reclaiming Beauty journey:

What Do Women Want?

by: Kim Addonizia

I want a red dress.

I want it flimsy and cheap,

I want it too tight, I want to wear it

until someone tears it off me.

I want it sleeveless and backless,

this dress, so no one has to guess

what’s underneath. I want to walk down

the street past Thrifty’s and the hardware store

with all those keys glittering in the window,

past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling day-old

donuts in their café, past the Guerra brothers

slinging pigs from the truck and onto the dolly,

hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.

I want to walk like I’m the only

woman on earth and I can have my pick.

I want that red dress bad.

I want it to confirm your worst fears about me,

to show you how little I care about you

or anything except what

I want. When I find it, I’ll pull that garment

from its hanger like I’m choosing a body

to carry me in this world, through

the birth-cries and the love-cries too,

and I’ll wear it like bones, like skin,

it’ll be the goddamned

dress they bury me in.

What poem best captures where you are RIGHT NOW in your Reclaiming Beauty journey? I love new poems; if you feel inspired, please share one in the comments below.

Nature’s Greatest Creation

Skill: Self-Compassion

from Contributor: Sandy McGrath

Seven months ago, I began my journey back from the Underworld. It has been an incredibly trying quest, but worth every painful step. As a reflection of my experience in the Reclaiming Beauty Playshop and a tribute to the amazing woman that have walked this journey with me,  I wrote the following poem:

Mother Nature has a way with creations
She modifies size, type and destinations
There is one that is so pure
And of this I am sure.
When she created women
She designed them strong for protection
As she also made them very resistant.
But as the time passed along with the days
She noticed that women were unhappy in many ways
So she gave them what they needed for their stay
She visited the surface of the Earth
To unveil her ultimate creation before things got worse
There before women she stood and softly spoke
I am mother nature as you may see
I am your creator and everything that you claim to be
I have come to grant you what you all may need
She lifted her hands as golden light began to shine
From within the hearts of women divine
This is my gift to you she said
I’ve given it my mind so everything she may comprehend
A heart remarkably large so violence she does not intend
You may not abuse her for you were created to protect
She will be forever with you so consider yourself blessed
As she will help you find solutions and do her best
She will be there to guide you from one day to the other
This gift, you may say, is your ‘Inner Mother’

Image: Image is copyright ©Ardengrafix 2008

Hot Tip Tuesday: Self-Blessing

Saint Francis and the Sow
by: Galway Kinnell
The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
Image: Bell Pine Art Farm

The Girl Who Lost Her Twirl

Skills: Beauty Lost/Beauty Found

Contributor: Crystal Mays

There once was a girl
Who had forgotten her twirl
and spent most of her time
caught in a mind-made whirl.
Where her house sat
and all around that
the forest grew densely
blocking out the light immensely.
So dark was this place
not even a bear showed it’s face.
The air didn’t stir
nor did the songbirds dare sing.
This was not a place
for a girl to twirl.
For many a year
she had known only tears
to express herself
and all her sorrows.
She always wished
for a better tomorrow.
One day as she stood outside
and thought about all she had cried
she glanced down
and began to frown
wiggling her toes in the dirt
she swore she felt an overt
under her soles.
It wasn’t the moles
digging holes,
but something else
a pulse
a humming
a drumming
a beat
under her feet
urging her to move
shimmy and shake.
Willing her feet to find that jiving groove
She set about moving her move
As she got lost in the motion
She felt within herself a new emotion
a pitter pat pat
she hadn’t imagined that
her heart began to flutter.
to skip a beat
to tumble and fumble
and then…
a rumble emerged
and urged
a sound
so deep
so profound
to seep out
as a shout
blurting out
Taking a breath deep into her lungs
She found one of her songs
yet unsung
and flinging her head back
she belted out a melody
of fierce melancholy
her journey
thus far
of loneliness
and sorrow
and wishes for a better tomorrow.
Spinning around and around
as her sound
died down
her body sank at last to the ground.
Lying into the soft grasses
her mind went molasses
turning gasses
and masses
gobbly gook
taking one last look
around her
she allowed the sleep to come
and drum
her soul
again whole.
The girl dreamed a dream
of many images streamed
and woven together in a tapestry
of such mastery.
The shimmering threads
over time and space spread
and showed to her the true
and history
of life on this planet,
this situation
of creation
When she had seen all she was to see
she began to remember at last
her forgotten decree
to live free
as a bumble bee
in a fir tree
or as potpourri
to a lesser degree.
She awoke with a start
and felt deep in her heart
something very old depart.
It’s leaving was relieving.
Understanding now
the weaving and deceiving
of the mind’s perceiving
she felt into her body
the sensations of life
without strife.
Piercing through the veil
she knew now
love would prevail
and allow her to sail
over land and sea
and follow her glee.
To be worry free
and live as a banshee
under a cork tree
or sip ice tea
with Mr. McPhee
Dipping her head to the earth
she thanked the Great Mother
for this miraculous rebirth.
Leaping to her tiny feet
she felt again the heartbeat
of the earth beneath her.
A rustle of air
fluttered through her hair
Whispering into her ear
for only her to hear
Dear heart
who you are.
You are a most precious shining star.

About the Contributor: Crystal Mays makes beauty every day as a dancer, an artist, a musician and a fabulous hair stylist. You can find her on the web at (re)Vision Hair Salon.