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Posted in Many Paths Many Voices


We stagger across the beach
Like giggling schoolgirls,
Clad in nightgowns, feet bared,
Heavy with fatigue yet light
As champagne flutes. Our pain

The sea sweeps in from our left.
To the right, a morepork laments
Its name. Calling us home. Wild
Women. Untethered. Unleashed.
Quite. Quite unhinged.
Returned to ourselves at last.

Mandy Edwards (c) 2018

I wrote this poem several days after returning from Te Wahi Ora Women’s Retreat, where a friend and I shared the Seaview Suite, experienced an empowering counselling session with Bev Holt; had a therapeutic massage, (an act of love toward body and soul) and had many wonderful long walks along the beach. My friend had come to Te Wahi Ora, grieving for the loss of her husband to cancer; and I – well I told myself that I was there to be with my friend; but soon realised that this place of sanctuary and love, was affecting me so deeply that I could not hide from myself here. And I sought a counselling session with Bev, knowing that if I didn’t, I would regret it for the rest of my life. Bev helped me to loosen the knots inside that froze me into silence and this gave me such a feeling of euphoria that all hope of sleep was gone. My friend could not sleep either, so we headed for Piha Beach in the black of the night, staggering across the sands like giggling schoolgirls. A poem would later be born!

Earlier in the week I discovered the local Art Gallery and was drawn to a simple sketch of a naked woman which I felt compelled to buy; and on returning to Te Wahi Ora, that same afternoon, a poetry book entitled, “Laid Bare,” caught my eye. Sometime later, I read Te Wahi Ora’s ‘Spiritual Vision,’ which included a quote from Anne Dillard: “Why are we writing if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed?” Coincidence? I think not. My poetry is my soul laid bare.

The first poem I wrote, years earlier, that first explored this theme, is entitled, Autumn Trees.

Autumn Trees

Autumn trees shed leaves,

Mandy Edwards
Mandy Edwards

Like faded memories,
Shaking off the past,
To reveal their naked truth;
Then waiting, in wintry silence,
To be reborn.
We scrunch those piebald leaves
Between our toes;
And toss them in the air
With wild abandon.
How wonderful to be,
An Autumn tree,
Flinging off its clothes and shouting,
“Look at Me.”

Mandy Edwards © 2014

Autumn Trees came to me out of the blue (as many of my poems do) as I began raking the autumn leaves from under the trees in our orchard. The first line floated into my consciousness and I felt compelled to rush inside and write the poem. Then I resumed raking leaves; feeling satisfied, joyful, and complete. Stripped to my naked truth, just like the autumn trees. A friend of mine, Clem McGrath also explores the idea of “standing naked” in truth when he responded so eloquently to me once as I pondered the idea of giving up all my ‘spiritual seeking’ and just be myself; unadorned.

“The deepest question we can ask, is: ‘If I let go of the process I am invested in – the seeking, hoping, expecting, needing, projecting and more – then who will I be, and will I get my heart’s desires? It takes high courage to go there. Yet go there we must and stand naked in the knowing.”
(Clem McGrath, 2018).

That sounds like perfect freedom to me.