a permission slip

I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep.
The day was warm, and winds were prosy;
I said: “’T will keep.”


I woke and chid my honest fingers,—
The gem was gone;
And now an amethyst remembrance
Is all I own.

This is yet another straightforward poem in the tradition of many others. The speaker has lost something precious, and is left with a lovely memory.

What strikes me about this poem is the fifth line: “I woke and chid my honest fingers.” The speaker blames herself for her loss, but acknowledges that she is not really to blame. This rings so true for me as a woman–so often I blame myself for something that isn’t my fault because I’ve been taught to capitulate, to be diplomatic, to soothe other’s feelings first while bottling up my own.

So today, in honor of this poem, I’m offering you a permission slip. Today, you get to forgive yourself for all the things you’ve been feeling guilty about that aren’t really your fault. Today, you get to let those go.

Try it. See what happens.