Don’t touch me.
Don’t pat me down.
Nor soothe me, nor lay any part of your sympathetic arms around me
Because I will growl, and more.
I will snarl.
This sob-wrenching grief for lands and waters poisoned
Hearts broken and losses shattering
Will not be contained
Cannot be borne in proximity with another.
This wild wild grief needs to raise its ear-piercing screams to the hills,
Needs to reach the grandmothers
who have known loss of children and land all their long lives .
This woman will not be silenced, nor prettied into comfort
She is hag-hung with snot and salt tears, wailing and keening into the mud.
Uncaring unfeeling of her body because
if she does not keen then she will not live.
If she does not mourn the dead and dying, the wounded and poisoned
Then she herself dies and with that a clamour of grandmothers grows cold,
If all her relations cannot come to the party then come none at all.
So she brings the torn and broken ones,
The hopeless and whimpering ones,
The pleading and hollow-eyed ones.
Don’t smother their wailing with your love,
Stand with this woman and hear with all you have.
And if this breaks open your own dam of grief
Then we will wail together as women will.
Leave the peacemaking now, leave the talking
And tend to this tide of grief or it will drown us all.
You were born to breathe in salt water.
Dive deep for your lives.
Artwork Photography ‘The Keening” by Theresa W Photography, Model: Amanda Lynn Joyce