You can no longer take my me away,
I have come to reclaim her
And my eyes flash fire in defence of this new darling
My raw and hidden self.
I have said “no more!” and I stand
Protecting my right to be me
And the right of all small helpless ones
To live without condemnation.
I will not go that way again
Down in the twisted caves, the darkness of self-delusion
The lies that conceived confusion
On my drifting ungrounded self.
I will not wear the labels of another’s sin
Or lie beneath the landslides of false guilt
Or justify existence by small acts of un-becoming.
I will not be ashamed of my womanhood
Or deny my right to be strong
To walk barefoot and fearless across the sands of my own choosing
To own this flesh is my flesh, and in bondage to no other
And my heart is free, winged as the albatross,
To stretch into uncharted places.
I will not sell my soul again for the goodwill of a slave
I will have the respect of free men, or I will walk alone
I have learned that bondage is not love, whatever name it bears,
And kindness is no excuse for cruelty.
Do not pity me in my agony
For I am in the throes of a great wonder
Giving birth to a new self