“I will make the poems of my body…

I shall then supply myself with the poems of my soul…”

           – Walt Whitman


Poetry by Cynthia Johnson-Oliver



Meet Camellia

Oppressive snow congeals and waits,
Then falls from petals dressed in white.
As ice unburdens iron gates,
The blossoms keep their spirits light.
The harshest season visits earth
And branches bare their souls. What was
The death of many fails to birth
A challenge to her goals because
Camellia blooms in winter time,
As juxtaposed as life and cold;
Her triumph, artfully sublime,
Betrays a spirit brave and bold.



This Is My Body

Manual blessings offered through
Gentle touches and sweet caresses
To a child, a lover, a mother
Nurturing, tickling, caring
A laying on of disfigured hands
These are my hands
Sacramental gestures through
Carrying, reaching, and snuggling
Contracted in the perfect position
To hold and hug and squeeze
Solace in contracted limbs
These are my arms
Standing in kitchen sanctuaries
Kneeling at bedside altars
Perfected seat and headrest
Limping, leaning, playing
Strength in unstable thighs
These are my legs
This is my body
Blessed, broken, and given
In sacred acts of loving kindness
On foot, wheel, or unsteady dance
Beauty in a disabled body
This is my body