Wednesday, March 9, 2011

“The Rope of Love”

My hands grasp it
            rough and coarse
            prickling against my fingers
I test its strength
            tugging hard
            yanking it this way and that
Tentatively, I test my weight
            Will it bear me?
            Will it hold me up?
            Will it carry me
                        across the chasms
                        over the ridges
                        through thundering rivers?
I examine it carefully
            searching for flaws
            weaknesses in its entwined strands
Winding upon itself
            enwrapping my fingers
            enveloping my hand
I trust it
            swinging over the unknown
            over the pit of my insecurities
It gouges my hands
            rubs me raw and blistered
            as I swing
It bears me
            holds me
                        carries me
            even as it hurts me
I don’t let go
            and the pain lessens
            my feet touch the ground
I unwind it from my hand
            my shaking fingers
            smoothing against its heat
I untie it
            bind it loosely around me
            feel its weight
Its rough and coarse hairs
            tickle my cheek
            and I smile
                        in safety
                        in security
                        in satisfaction

Copyright 1995 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

Many of my poems originated with classroom assignments given to my students. I wrote this poem as "homework" when I instructed my students to create a poem in which rope was used as a metaphor, simile, or symbol. As a teacher of writing, I always completed the homework I assigned. First, it gave me better judgement on the difficulty of the assignment. More importantly, I always participated in the class sharing to model my own writing.

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