The Vessel

The Vessel

I am a crystal vessel, triangular in shape,

Encased in a block of lead.

I’ve only recently begun to know what I am,

Seen my features come into focus.

I’m surprised the weight of my surroundings hasn’t crushed me -

It has threatened to do so, to disintegrate me into thousands of tiny shards.

I have felt the pressure, the heaviness.

It is difficult to distinguish my delicate angles from the concrete-like home in which I dwell.

Although I should be able to move with grace and ease,

The bulkiness that holds me causes a bumbling, clumsy gate.

A burdensome load, nearly impossible to mobilize without force.

What an irony; since using force defeats my purpose altogether.


It appears that the only way to allow myself to live and move and have my being

Is to separate myself from this encasement which has become a temporary grave.


Where did it come from?  How did this heavy load come to be?

For the longest, I never even questioned that it should be the bain of my existence.

This, before I began to really see myself more clearly - before even looking.

My curiosity has revealed an interesting, though painful, dynamic.


You see, in my creation, as the intricacies in my character were being shaped and molded,

I was exposed to some rather cutting - no pun intended - experiences.

The memory of them is still somewhat raw,

Although no longer accompanied by the suffocating shame.


The crack of imposed secrecy on my natural urge to explore body and sensation;

A jagged edge, the cold look intended to shame and terminate any emerging                           sensuality or expression of such;

The same shattering secrecy now solidifying isolation and more shame;


Ignorance that leaves marks on me, separating me from my power, my free will,                my desire…;

The crushing force with which I receive overwhelming information that oversteps              the bounds of my adolescent naivete.

These are the ingredients that combine like the periodic elements to form the body              of lead I now wear.


I weathered these assaults upon my being alone.

The silence and shame having orchestrated the development of what has become                 my outer shield.

How do I relinquish this dead, leaden weight and the hold it has on me?

How do I preserve myself - the feminine vessel that I am,

Whilst destroying the block of metal that constrains and restricts me?


I see no other way than with fire…

To heat this heavy metal with a flame until it loosens its hold on me in its molten                   state.

This is a frightening prospect, though, since it exposes ME to the heat and fire, as                  well.

I will not be capable of maintaining my current physical state -

Crystal glass - fragile, delicate, cold, breakable.

I must be willing to sacrifice what I know as my being.

I must surrender to the purifying flame and be willing to let go the substance of my          current form.

Out of the ash that is my old, former matter,

Rises a supple vessel, a new life,

Filled to overflowing with freedom of expression, warmth of love, and

Heat of passion.

Alisa Carr, 2009

I wrote this poem at the end of a cycle of healing around my own sexuality and early sexual experiences that were confusing, and that I had no way to process or talk about.  I share it now as my response to the recent outcries of sexual abuse in the news and social media.  No matter our particular experiences, maybe there is something in my process that resonates, and could facilitate healing, transformation, and peace.

with love, gratitude, peace, and healing - Alisa