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THESE BONES by Rachelle Smith Stokes


There are times when I feel empty…

 My soul is dried up and I’m not sure how to water it. Or I go to unhealthy ways to begin to feel again only to numb the pain instead. This causes the suffering to worsen.

I believe we all have these moments from time to time. We all numb ourselves in various ways.

This poem is set off to the style of the well-known song “Dem Bones” (click here to listen), composed by African-American author and songwriter James Weldon Johnson.  And it catches a bit of its rhythm and lyrics as well. 

I’ve come to find this poem is about awareness. Awareness of your body and soul and how they have such an effect on each other.

There is no happy ending in this poem. At least, there is no end. It’s a beginning to moisten these dry bones.
'Inner Peace' painting by Monica Stewart

These Bones

Can’t you hear me cry, “These dry bones!”?
Can’t you hear me cry, “These dry bones!”?
Can’t you hear me cry, “These dry bones!”?
            Now here’s the word of my soul.

The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone.
The leg bone’s connected to the knee bone.
The knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone.
The thigh bone’s connected to the hip bone.
But my hip bone’s connected to my soul bone.
Because I feel it in my hips when there’s something wrong.
From my foot to my head I can feel this song.
            Now here’s the word of my sorrow.

These bones brittle and stiff knock knock together.
These bones making hollow coughing sounds.
These dry bones wheezing, splitting cracks expanding.
            Now here’s the word of my soul.

These bones exposing a lack of marrow.
These bones will take any liquid friend or foe.
These dry bones don’t want to feel this hollow hacking anymore.
            Now here’s the word of my sorrow.

These bones I wet with liquor, moist and burning.
These bones drowning in numb breathless confusion.
These dry bones sucked up the boggy burning water.
            Now here’s the word of my soul.

These bones swollen and still like lifeless drowned bodies.
These bones floating on 90 proof soft limb futility.
These dry bones washed on a river bank more fragile than before.
            Now here’s the word of my sorrow.

These bones, these bones, need to walk around.
Need to keep these bones from lying down.
These bones, these bones, need to walk around.
            Now here’s the word of my soul.

The head bone’s connected to the neck bone.
The neck bone’s connected to the shoulder bone.
The shoulder bone’s connected to the back bone.
The back bone’s connected to the hip bone.
But my hip bone’s connected to my soul bone.
Because I feel it in my soul when there’s something wrong.
From my head to my foot I can feel this song.
            Now here’s the word of my sorrow.

Can’t you hear me cry, “These dry bones!”?
Can’t you hear me cry, “These dry bones!”?
Can’t you hear me cry, “These dry bones!”?
            Now here’s the word of my soul.
Art by Mara Diop


Rachelle Smith Stokes (aka Writer Yogi) is just that: A writer of poetry, inspiration and lessons learned on her yogic journey. She lives with her husband in Dayton, Ohio but hopes to one day share her passion for writing and yoga with other states and time zones. Her goal is to inspire and be inspired through her passions and connecting with others. You can connect with her on Facebook here , twitter or her 'Ujjayi Life' website here.  





~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!~ 

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