Poetry: Roots

*trigger warning: mentions self harm

Cover her new scars
with your hand. Softly
remind her of monkey 
bars—how she magically

turned fear into calloused 
palms. It all seemed
simple then, tending those 
wounds. Band-aids, hugs, mommy

kisses. But you can’t 
help the same way—
palms have grown. Stars
have shifted. Instead, tell

her about rooted madness—
about pulling yourself free 
from ancient bloody soil
with trembling fingers. How

hope once flowed away
from you as fast
as a river, but
you didn’t drown. You

survived. Give her crystal
pools of fresh moon 
water, whirling seed pod
wings. Give her permission

to root herself differently—
for her path doesn’t
have to resemble grandmother’s
or great-grandmother’s or

anyone. Kiss her wounds
still. Let her sink
deep into your safe
ground and fall into

your familiar warmth. Sing
honey songs—bumble bee
whispers, fairy wings. Believe
her. Touch her scars

with sacred knowing fingers—
remind her not all
scars are visible. Wrap
her in thick layers

so strong she can
stand in any soil—
firmly rooted. For when 
harsh cold winter winds

bring hoards of lying
fanged monsters to roar
and rage and tear—
she’ll hear your voice

reminding her of small
hands on monkey bars—
how she magically turned
fear into calloused palms.

  • My daughter gave me permission to share this very personal poem.
  • “Roots” is inspired by “Whipping” by K.D. Harryman

100 thoughts on “Poetry: Roots

  1. This was such a poignant and heartfelt piece on self-harm and recovery – can feel the overflowing love in every line. ❤ It's so tempting to guilt-trip yourself and how frustrating misunderstandings can be, but luckily you're her safe habor when the storms loom too loud & hope she knows how far she's blossomed already. 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thank you, Tom. It’s hard when people ask me “what happened?” as if I could reach into her body and pluck out the moment the seed of depression took hold. I can’t. She can’t. It doesn’t work like that. I love her fiercely. I try and understand, but it never quite feels like enough.

      I always have her read anything I share about her before I post it, to be sure I’m not stepping on her story, but telling mine. We talked a lot about that yesterday, how it feels to be a mother watching her struggle, and how it feels to be the one struggling.

      You are right—she’s come so far! I remind her constantly of her victories, her monkey bar moments (she was terrified of them at first, but tried and tried until she was a pro). I wish I could do more.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Absolutely ❤ It’s so tempting to bottle up that self-doubt all onto your own shoulders & keep hamstringing yourself worrying ‘where did I go wrong?’ But you’re both still talking. You’re an outlet for her and she trusts you to share her worries – that’s always the first & hardest step to take in overcoming it.

        Liked by 3 people

  2. So poignant and heart-felt. I felt it.

    “Give her permission

    to root herself differently—
    for her path doesn’t
    have to resemble grandmother’s
    or great-grandmother’s or


    I agree with K above about the enjambments.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Once upon a time, there was a young girl who had just returned from a difficult journey. She was covered in new scars, both visible and invisible, from her struggles. Her loved one, who had always been there to comfort her and tend to her wounds in the past, didn’t know how to help her this time.

    The loved one knew that the girl had always been afraid of monkey bars, but had eventually learned to conquer her fear and calloused her palms. The loved one remembered how simple it had been to tend to her wounds back then, with just band-aids, hugs, and kisses from her mother.

    But now, the loved one couldn’t help in the same way. Their own hands had grown and the stars had shifted. Instead, the loved one decided to share with the girl their own experience of rooted madness and how they had pulled themselves free from ancient, bloody soil with trembling fingers. They told the girl about how hope had once flowed away from them as fast as a river, but they didn’t drown. They had survived.

    The loved one gave the girl crystal pools of fresh moon water and whirling seed pod wings as a reminder that she too can root herself differently and that her path doesn’t have to resemble anyone else’s. They kissed her wounds and let her sink deep into their safe ground and fall into their familiar warmth. They sang honey songs and bumblebee whispers, fairy wings and believed in her.

    The loved one touch her scars with sacred knowing fingers, reminding her that not all scars are visible. They wrapped her in thick layers so strong she can stand in any soil – firmly rooted. And when harsh cold winter winds brought hoards of lying, fanged monsters to roar and rage and tear, she’ll hear the loved one’s voice reminding her of small hands on monkey bars – how she magically turned fear into calloused palms.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I don’t physically self harm, but I know people who did and I hope that it gets better for your daughter. It’s nice to hear that your daughter has a supportive mom that recognizes that her daughter is stressed.

    It’s a bittersweet, soft somber poem that has faithful elements to it. Soft and sweet.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Dear Bridgette, I’m so sorry I’m so late reading and commenting on this beautiful, tender, painful piece about your precious daughter. I wanted to read it several times with care and did so over the last few days because it touched me so profoundly. I tried to think carefully about the words I wanted to use, partly to thank you for sharing this so honestly (with your daughter’s permission), to tell you how beautiful, delicate and tender your words are and to offer my love and support to you both as you go through such painful and challenging times. You are an amazing mum (mom) – your daughter is blessed to have you so close to her. I understand because of my own experiences of past self-harm and those of my daughter, who struggled with similar issues and now my sixteen-year-old granddaughter is going through the same pain. Your daughter knows you are there for her, and that in itself is so valuable. I do hope the home-schooling is helping her settle a bit, although I know it’s not an easy journey. Have you managed to get her any outside mental health support or help recently? Please, know I am here for you and thinking about you and your daughter so much. Please, feel free to reach out via email if you feel I could help in any way or just to share thoughts or be listened to. Sending you both so much love, healing and gentle, comforting hugs. Xxx 💓💓💓

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for reading this poem, Ellie, and for such a kind and thoughtful comment. My daughter is fortunate to see a therapist and a psychiatrist. It’s very, very hard to watch her struggle and try and combat the lies her brain is telling her. I feel almost at battle with her anxiety and depression—sometimes it gets the upper hand and I get angry. I want to pull it from her and wear it like a jacket, but it’s part of her journey. She will overcome it and it will make her stronger. I don’t know where her path leads, but I know this is part of the work her soul is here to to do. I’m here to simply love her and keep her safe. It feels like not enough…but I’m doing all I can.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. This is a powerful and moving piece that speaks to the resilience and strength of the human spirit. The imagery of monkey bars and calloused palms is particularly poignant, as it serves as a reminder of the struggles we have overcome in the past and the strength we have gained as a result. The idea of “rooted madness” is also striking, as it highlights the idea that growth and change can be painful, but ultimately necessary for our survival. The line “Give her permission to root herself differently” is especially powerful, as it encourages the reader to embrace their own unique journey and to not feel constrained by the paths of those who came before them. Overall, this is a beautifully written and thought-provoking piece that is sure to resonate with many readers.

    Liked by 4 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s