Some people ask me why I open myself to the sorrows of others, such as the Little Businessman and his family. I cannot imagine a life without them.
For those of us who lack the words to describe the ache that has centered itself within us, for those of us who get up before the sun to wander through darkness because we think the practice will help us on this path, for those of us who listen for the wisdom of the drowsy stray cat, we who are devoted to greeting sunrise, there is hope in the constancy of the crow’s caw and all of the ways the day rises. There is, however dim, light.
For those of us who are disenfranchised, muffled, reminded we do not matter, we who are drowned out by the engine of capitalism and the roar of getting ahead, we who are daily sold someone else’s aspirations and language, for those of us who are told we are not good enough, there is, however muted, light.
For those of us who are hungry, for those of us who know love alone cannot fill us, there is, however faint, the promise that arrives with the light of a new day.
Some people pity the Little Businessman for his hard life. They are surprised to learn he looks at me with pity for my lack of children, for the busyness of my life.
For those of us who are in various stages of discovering the leagues of our misery, there is, however blaring, the light.
- Write a litany:
synonyms: prayer, invocation, supplication, devotion;archaicorison“she was reciting the litany”
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
like bread in our children’s mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours;
For those of us
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
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
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive.