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ON AUDRE LORDE by Tadiya Dasi


”My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you....

...What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?” Audre Lorde



I first came across Audre Lorde and her work in my Gender studies classes at the university. The lecturer shared some of her work with us and gave us the above quote from her. That quote hit me right in the gut and I knew I needed to know more about her and her work.

Audre Lorde
Lorde was a poet, a human rights activist, a teacher and a feminist. She battled breast cancer and unfortunately lost her battle in 1992. From this battle came her award winning book called: The Cancer Journals. There's also a documentary about her: A Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde.

My favorite poem from Lorde is called A Litany for Survival and I am happy to share it with the readers of this blog. To me, this poem speaks of the fear that is part of the human experience in this material world. ”We were never meant to survive” here on this earth anyway. As spiritual beings, we often feel like we are ”living on the shoreline” here on earth: not quite at home here.

This poem encapsulates the attitude of courage to me. We must often “die to live”. We must die to our fear and boldly live our (spiritual) truth.

I think it’s important to remember that we all have stories and poems, and words, and a need for language within us. No matter how big or small, important or insignificant we feel we are, we should speak our truth and in doing so, share who we are with others.

Photography by Alan Shapiro

A LITANY FOR SURVIVAL
by Audre Lorde

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children's mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:
For those of us
Photography by Katja Anderson
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother's milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.
And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive


Tadiya dasi is a bhakti yogini who has always loved to write and read. Mostly she has read about religions, both as a student of Religious studies in university as well as a student of the Divine studying the Bhakti-scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Bhagavata Purana. She writes mostly for her own pleasure, for self-reflection and creativity. Recently, she has begun to give lectures on bhakti yoga. Her favorite place to practice bhakti yoga is in one of her teacher's ashrams, surrounded by beautiful nature and lots of cows. She, though, lives mostly in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland. Her inspiration to write and to share bhakti comes from her teacher Swami Tripurari. You can email Tadiya at tadiyadasi@yahoo.com


~If you are interested in seeing your poetry appear in this blog, or submitting a poem by a woman that has inspired you, please click here for submission guidelines. I greatly look forward to hearing from you!~ 

Comments

  1. I liked this so much Tadiya, thank you...the last line reminded me of Zapata's "better to die on your feet than live on your knees..."

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  2. Thank you emphasizing courage in this post, dear Tadiya: the courage to assert one's own voice, one's own truth, and speak it fearlessly. Dying to one's fear is a wonderful meditation, and Lorde's spirit here certainly encourages that. May more women emerge from their silence and begin to share their beautiful voices, despite the fears that our "words will not be hear or welcomed". Yes, I agree. The poem is like a call to the brave. Perfect for this Women's Spiritual Poetry project! :))

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