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Step out of a party
slip away from a feast.

Alone, here
you can speak the language of trees –
a tenor so deep
that your ribs will answer.

Lay out your thoughts
like soft toys
beneath a childhood oak.

Hear each tongue in turn
unhurried, open to every pitch –
tender or terse, stilted or strident, rude or rash –
you can hear all Love
in its own dialect.

Yowl for as long as you need:
skip the lullaby,
spit the pacifier,
shun the chalky formula.

In time, if you cry less frantically
may it also be sooner.

Because, here
in the paperbark of your own broad presence
whenever your heart stirs
it will grow surer of being heard.

– Naomi Byrnes

With gratitude to Mary McKenzie and classmates of her recent Self-Empathy course on NVC Academy.