"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

21 November 2009

From Tightropes to Wings

A lonely little girl, terrified, hugging knees to chest in a solitary corner:
      Is he gone? Is she safe?

Each day holds new dangers as she tiptoes
       across the tightrope of her life,
Lacking the comfort of a safety net below.
One false step and she’ll be gone.

Constant fear has stolen her voice. He knows she’ll never tell.
Who would listen to the halting, hesitant speech of damaged goods?
From the comfort of his safety net, he eyes her tightrope walk
      with eager anticipation.

The days and weeks of silence become months and years.
Soon she forgets the value of her voice,
And others, weary with the work of speaking for two
Excuse her silence for shyness at best, rudeness at worst.

Her tightrope, if not comfortable, is at least familiar:
She knows each twist and knot along the way.
By day, she steps with calloused tiptoes across her tightrope;
By night, she curls into a ball and cries the dark away.

One day as she approaches the ladder to her tightrope torture,
She scorns the worn rungs, envying those who,
      instead of walking a tightrope of terror, fly.
How she longs for the wings to soar.
One last glance at her tightrope tormentor and her decision is firm:
      She will fly.

The first flappings of her wings terrify her;
How will she survive in the changeful wind and
       blinding sunlight of the azure sky?
She almost leaves the dizzying heights.
Others, seeing her plight, do not mock, do not scoff, do not flutter off
But come alongside and help her on her way through
       the unfamiliar freedom of the air.

As she finds her wings, so too she finds her voice:
       “I’d like to tell you my story.”