When Twelve

When Twelve

Only twelve, awkward,
One day lasting a hundred years
a paradox of life,
thinking they know it all
And yet knowing little
And acting like each day is
How it will always be– forever
Acting like twelve year-old adults
and sometimes like kids
And she looks at another with anger
Which we know now
was from insecurity and
deep inner pain
But at twelve, who knows this?
When fitting in and being cool
Is paramount to existence?
And something spews out–
“Mophead,” she says
And other days expressed another way
In words that convey
Who’s better, who’s worse
To blow her away
with the wind, as insignificant chaff
words meant to whittle down the stalk.
The other day
She walked in the hairdresser
All grown up
And the stranger says
“What beautiful hair you have!”
Mophead no longer but long
Shiny locks, heart-strong
Forgiven and forgiver
And I turn around and
glance backward
and graciously say,
“thank you”
smiling all the way
knowing I am a
piece of dusty clay
empty vessel, arms reaching high
truth-seeker, grace-clinger
day after aching,
glorious, beautiful day

Sharing with lovely Emily at Imperfect Prose
And with One Shot Wednesdays at One Stop Poetry
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23 Responses to When Twelve

  1. brian says:

    this is a lovely piece…often the words of others and even ourselves can be destructive…until someone points out our true beauty…as we are formed in his image…

  2. dustus says:

    Inspiring poem. The ending seems to tumble into a crash of praise for life, as well as the recognition of beauty and change.

  3. “words that convey who’s better, who’s worse
    To blow her away with the wind, insignificant chaff
    words meant to whittle down the stalk.”

    This phrase contained so much of the bullying mindset, when kids think its cool to cut the weak one down – how perfect, too, to pick on the mop head. An archetypal theme all too commonly experienced – Cinderella’s cruel sisters; the ugly duckling, etc… but in the end, that aching, glorious and beautiful realization – wonderful. Just wonderful stuff!!

  4. What a beautiful poem about growing up. I can relate well to this as I was never allowed to have long hair and always forced to keep it short. After the age of twelve I grew it very long and one day my father said to me: “You have beautiful hair.” This did not please me, because my parents would never willingly allowed me to have it long. I also am dusty clay, truth seeker and grace clinger. Sorrow has brought me much closer to Him. Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem.

  5. Ann Grenier says:

    Your poem is beautiful and true, heartfelt and brave, inspired as well, I think

  6. Ann Grenier says:

    The comment box stopped working for me-I wanted to say too that we have a 12 year old grandaughter and see in her the peer pressures you mention in your poem. Thanks for a well written piece, Anna.

  7. hollyheir says:

    Twelve, the age you do begin to think you’re grown up. Such days lasting forever. Often high often low. Well expressed. Enjoyed reading this very much. Gay

  8. bristolm says:

    Ooo, it’s great to get to see more of your poetry, Anna! I love that you are doing this poetry blog. This was lovely. This part was so perfect:
    “To blow her away
    with the wind, as insignificant chaff
    words meant to whittle down the stalk.”
    Thanks for sharing your art!

  9. Kati says:

    This really is lovely, so well executed. I like it and I like how you capture the inner girl in all of us.

  10. Chris G. says:

    Curious, the changes time wreaks…lovely piece, capturing well a gamut of emotions and change. A piece about growing up, with an ending note that could put a smile on anyone’s face, I’d think.

  11. happygirl says:

    When fitting in and being cool
    Is paramount to existence?

    I wish I could say we all outgrow 12. Sometimes it takes MUCH longer. Thanks for a piece that speaks to growth.

  12. day after aching, glorious, beautiful day…

    this got me, friend. you captured grace right there. thank you.

Thank you for your comments, much appreciated!!

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