Guarded; (Thursday Photo Prompt #writephoto)

once, I would have scaled it,

that guardian stone of hidden realms,

mountain giants could just lift it,

yet I’d be faster than most elves;

with wolf’s heart and unbalanced feet,

though many times I tripped and fell,

I’d battle boundaries few could see;

my barriers invisible,

I’d climb after I tumbled,

I carried on when others’ laughed,

few wondered why I stumbled,

their own horizons vast –

yet I travelled the world,

or many parts of it,

pitching tents while tempests hurled,

or through post-conflict

while waring with my limbs, again,

joints disconnected –

but no one sees the spasms;

they think it’s just a twitch,

pain well-veiled, like organs,

and they misbehave as well,

but I scaled rocks and mountains

while I was yet half able,

mountains are matters of perspective,

measured by subjective size,

once I could still use my legs

now I roll level with your thighs,

and my new summits are your steps

and those who criticise

without knowing what mounting a pinnacle is, for they could never live my life,

I’m proud of my history, my tenacity; I need no alibi,

but looking at the places I’d once go;

the guardian stone I’d make a throne,

I now see the small rocks in the road,

on paths, barring my way home,

or on,

for now, when planning directions,

I choose where wheelchairs can wheel,

for my ‘underlying conditions’

can no longer be concealed.

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

This poem was inspired by the following image from this Thursday’s #writephoto prompt by Sue Vincent

For visually challenged writers, the image shows a pathway through the bracken of the moors towards a distant horizon crowned by a hill. The path is flanked by a huge rock…

19 Comments

  1. willowdot21 says:

    A great entry 💜💜

    1. antoniazen says:

      Thank you. xx Bit rusty at the prompt thing, but it excercises the ‘mind muscles’, and reminds the heart.

      1. willowdot21 says:

        Yes indeed it does 💜

  2. Sue Vincent says:

    ‘Liking’ this is a hard one, Antonia, knowing the way loss of mobility changes life, especially in a world where the obstacles often appear invisible to anyone who has never had to negotiate them. And especially when the most insurmountable of those obstacles are not always physical, but in the perceptions of others…
    I know from watching my son break his boundaries what is possible. I also know how much that costs ‘behind the scenes’ and on a daily basis, both menatlly and physically.

    1. antoniazen says:

      He is obviously a brave soul, and very fortunate he chose you as his mum. With such challenges it is vital to have people who believe in you and help you grow. If one person you love understands and sees who you are, that cancels out a lot of others misjudging or looking away.

      1. Sue Vincent says:

        I count myself blessed in both my sons. Nick managed to surpass all expectations… but that never means it is an easy road, as you will understand. Lots of dark days too. But yes, the people who juddge intellect and worth by slurred speech and slow movement… who see the wheelchair not the person… or perhaps, even sadder, those who ant to see the real person but are too frightened of getting things wrong to try… there are many of those.

    2. antoniazen says:

      P.S. – and I do believe the soul often chooses their mum. Apparently when I was little I told my mum I was glad I chose her 😉

      1. Sue Vincent says:

        I have always believed the soul chooses the circumstances of its new incarnation, Antonia, in order to best learn what it needs. That is why there are no regrets for what comes in life… only perhaps for how we choose to face those events. 🙂

      2. antoniazen says:

        agreed. 🙂 there’s a dream vision I’ve had many times of my soul before birth, talking to an angel about the lessons I would like to learn in this life. The angel had a clipboard, obviously 😉 and was looking through the list and gently but firmly suggesting I was perhaps asking for too many lessons in one life. But I was resolute, if a tad niave. 3 times they asked “Are you sure?” with raised eybrows, and I said “Yes, I’ll be fine” before the flash and shoot of light that speed me into being. But I always knew, if I needed help, or one less lesson, I could still ask. 🙂 – and some of the biggest blessings in my life I have asked for. I have love in my life and I don’t take life’s joys or blessings or my skills for granted. That is a blessing in and of itself. been good sharing with you. 🙂

      3. Sue Vincent says:

        Knowing we can ‘ask the question’ is half the battle 🙂

  3. antoniazen says:

    There are many of those people, yes. But your pride in Nick is tangible and it will help fuel him to keep going, and keep surpassing expectations however hard it often is. May he always know plenty of good people who see him first, not the wheels.

  4. Our hearts can always go where the legs are unable to… something I am eternally grateful for…

    1. antoniazen says:

      me too!

  5. Jules says:

    Many years ago I attended some kind of lecture – and I am sure that the phrase I repeat here now is not new, but it was new to me then…
    “We are all differently-abled. None of us should be labeled as dis-abled.”

    Thank you also for visiting my post on the prompt.

    1. antoniazen says:

      Hi Jules, thank you for your comment. Diiferent people who experience barriers to access use different terms. Some people prefer to use the word ‘disabled’ to describe themselves. I don’t say I’m disabled because that sounds like I have been turned off, or that I have no ability or self outside my difficulties. It also puts ‘disabled’ before ‘person’. Meanwhile, invalid sounds like you have failed at being human. 🙂

      I don’t tend to use the term differently-abled for myself either, because it doesn’t do justice to the challenges some of us face, and can help a lot of people forget when we have extra access needs and that comparitively abled people enjoy comparitive privilage. When I was younger I didn’t really call it anything. I just got on with it as best I could, I am over 90% bedbound these days, so I have disabilities, but I have abilities too, like you say.

      Nowadays, I personally define myself as a person with disabilities and a warrior of disabilities. Whatever term I use I always try to use person-first language.

      Take care, thanks for visiting and stay safe in these strange times.

      1. Jules says:

        Continue in your being a Warrior of Ability.
        We all have differing abilities, physical or mental, applicable heritage, religious or otherwise personal challenges.

        Stay safe and sane – and continue writing!!

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