Sunday, June 09, 2013


Chinese Cemetery
Photo by Gillian Cornwall
Victoria, BC  c. March 2013

Sometimes our greatest strength
rises from the ashes
of our vulnerability.

Today, I have two examples of vulnerability. The first is vulnerability without choice and anyone who lives in Victoria, BC is likely to experience this if they walk down Cook Street in the late spring or early summer. I hope you find it entertaining:

Dear Crow God,

I humbly request that you ask your disciples to stop flying at my head. My hair is not nesting material and what the hell would I want with a crow baby? Rest assured, very few humans, as twisted and cruel as we can be, have use for a crow baby!

My understanding is that your kind are not even good eating. The only time you may have heard us speak of this is purely idiomatically:

          1. Eating Crow: Humiliation by admitting wrongness or having been proven wrong after taking a strong position 

I would imagine that actually consuming one of your kind would be, well, foul. (Yes, I really did make that pun.)

To return to my original request, please inform your ilk that, while I am renowned for my good nature and sense of humour, there is nothing sporting nor dignified about running down the street willy-nilly, gesticulating in panicked madness, terrified at the prospect of having my eyes plucked from their sockets by your kin.

Certainly, I wish you the very best with all of your other crow endeavours, not the least of which is your attraction to, and collection of, bright and shiny objects (let it be known here that I am not a bright and shiny object), your affinity for playing 'chicken' in traffic and your tasteful black outfits. 

Most sincerely,

Gillian Cornwall

What is Underneath?
G. Cornwall c. 2010.

My second example of vulnerability comes in a poem from 2010. I post it again today in dedication to all of the women I know around the world and right here at home, who put themselves out there everyday, working, raising their children (often on their own), taking care of their significant others and their parents, persisting no matter the weather, the day, the exhaustion. I see you and I love you. Together we are stronger. 

This is Not a Poem, It is a Series of Waves

I come to you with my self in my own hands
like a clam shell.
I say, "Look. This is what I am."
and I open.

This is my language.
This is my culture. 
This is my truth
in this moment.
This is my ability to speak with you
from my heart.

My fears,
my scars,
they are here too.
Touch them;
know this part of my terrain.
Read me like Braille
in your hands.
Read the shapes I take. 
Read my amorphous shapes.

Keep reading.
I am here.
I am changing.
I am able to be touched by you
and read again.
I am the story;
shifting like dunes on the wind.

-Gillian Cornwall, c. 2010.

Gillian Cornwall
c. 2013

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