For you, a poem by Starhawk.

A Story of Masks

What has been done to the earth
has been done to you
as to us all
Every murder, every rape, every act or torture
leaves its scar on the landscape of the self
and the outer bars
cast shadows in our mind

Feel them
they are your wounds
they are all you might have been
and will not be
Cry for it mourn rage
There are toxins in your blood
Your dismembered parts
lie scattered around you
You prowl your own borders
looking for escape
The wall is invisible
like glass, but stronger
you can’t get over it
you can’t get under it
you can’t get around it

So you put on the mask
that hides you
and try to slip through
How do you walk in this mask?
How does your body feel?
The mask covers you
It hides the barrier
And suddenly you can’t remember
where you were going or why
and none of it seems very important
so you stop and sit
And there you remain
forever
Or you can take the mask off

And put on the tricky mask
the deceiving mask
and try to slip through
How do you walk in this mask?

How does your body feel?
And the barrier disappears
and you walk through
and the path is clear and green and pleasant
and you know it’s the right way
although from time to time
you suspect
that you really haven’t gone anywhere
that you are back where you started from
And there you can remain
forever
Or you can take the mask off

And you put on the mask
that pleases
and try to slip through
How do you walk in this mask?
How does your body feel?
And everyone at the barrier is charming
they make polite conversation
they serve tea
they sympathize with your difficulties
with how hard it is to break through
and you wouldn’t want to offend them
so you stay where you are
And there you can remain
forever
Or you can take the mask off

And you can put on the ugly mask
and try to smash through
How do you walk in this mask?
how does your body feel?
You don’t care who you offend, or what you break
the pleasant people scatter
the teacups shatter
and you bash into the barrier
again and again
your flesh becomes pulp
our own bones break
and there you can remain
forever
Or you can take the mask off

Unmasked

Turn your naked face
to the fire
that remains
An ember in the center
juice of the earth’s living heart
The fire survives
as you survive
and all may yet survive in you
Beside the fire
She is still sitting
the story woman
Her whisper makes
a dry sound
like the sliding of snakes
coupling and uncoupling
at the cell’s core
Like the memory of being alive
with all life living in you

She says
There is another way
You knew it once
Remember

Memory sleeps coiled
like a snake in a basket
of grain
deep in the storehouse
Breathe deep
Let your breath take you down

Find the way there
And you will find the way out

-Starhawk-

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