Poet’s Rebellion

Despite having blogged fairly prolifically over the past decade, lately I haven’t wanted to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) in that way. I mean, the aversion has been almost visceral. I haven’t even wanted to journal. And though I’ve never been wildly consistent about journaling, it’s always felt like home.

Trusting my voice, my internal guidance system, has been an unfolding and daily practice throughout my life. So, it took a bit for me to realize that I wasn’t just being lazy or crazy, or avoiding writing. My body wisdom was adjusting how I move through my days to meet my emerging, changing creative rhythms as a crone. I didn’t want to write the way I had been writing because my writing needs to take on a different cultural role.

An oh-so-wise pre-crone friend reminded me that, as crones, we’ve moved outside the confines of patriarchal attention and expectation. We’ve been dismissed, therefore we’re off the radar. Which is bullshit, yes. Their loss, definitely. And…it also offers us maneuvering room those still being tracked don’t have. We’re in a position to be uniquely subversive.

When I finally wrote again this morning, what flowed from my heart to my fingers was a poem I’ve called Poet’s Rebellion. Because confining my words to well-regulated structures? Yeah. Not happening.

constraining my
words to structures
breaks me a little
each time

to confine them in boxes created
by a culture gone mad
with categorizing and naming and
keywording and tagging


each word
each breath-infused
is a tiny fragment
of livingness

and yes life,
she has rhythms and
patterns and
life-giving structures
that teach unfolding
generations how to
create life anew

but – oh my aching heart –
they are life-giving structures
not the stranglehold of
stagnating expectations found
in so many corners
down so many virtual alleys
in this conform or
be shunned culture
in this conform
and die slowly

to type letters
and coalesce them into
wordscapes meant to free
is both smile-inducing gift
and shoulder-bowing responsibility
to give them life
then shackle them to
the weight of “musts” and
tangle them in the bindweed
of “isms”


Poet’s Rebellion © 2019 Tracie Nichols

4 Replies to “Poet’s Rebellion”

  1. LOVE this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s so visceral and I can physically feel the magnitude of the thing that doesn’t want to fit in the structure so well. Wow.

    Jen Pavich  Feminist Life Coach, Writer

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  2. I’ve been feeling very constrained at work. We have changed into a “conform-or-go” place to work. I’m feeling exactly what you’ve described in your poem. My rebellions are small and yet victories for my crone self. Several of us are also feeling pushed aside because we have silver hair and wisdom. Good thing I’ve also learned patience and flexibility. Raising children and nurturing co-workers seems very similar from my vantage point.


    1. I’m so glad to hear you are rebelling, Chari, though sorry to hear you’re feeling constrained. And, yes, absolutely “Raising children and nurturing co-workers seems very similar…” Mentoring co-workers is one of our essential roles as crones.


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