All You Need is Love #WEPFF

Posted February 16, 2022 in Blog Fests & Hops, Creative Writing / 48 Comments

All You Need is Love, WEP February 2022 Challenge. Post Feb 16-18, 1000 words or less

Write…Edit…Publish post on the third Wednesday of every second month and the challenges are open to all. To join in, you submit your name to the list, write an entry for the prompt (1000 words or less) and edit it. Then on the date given, you publish it to your blog, stating your feedback preferences. You can also read and leave comments on the other entries and share the challenge far and wide on social media. Find out more about this year’s challenges here.

The prompt for this challenge was the title of a song by The Beatles: “All You Need is Love”, which we could interpret however we liked.

About my Entry

It’s been a while since I joined in with the WEP challenge but I really want to get back into the habit. This piece was originally going to be prose but somehow it kept wanting to turn itself into a poem. I’m not really a poet so the structure and rhythm could probably use some work, and I know the rhyme is tenous in some places. But I think it conveys the message I had in mind.

Word count: 292

Tagline: Is unconditional love for our children all we need to be a good parent?

Content warnings: Negative body image, anxiety.

Critique preference: FCA

All You Need is (Self) Love

Scrutinizing my reflection,
Noting flaws in my complexion,
Counting the qualities I lack.
Who is that woman staring back?

Limp curls that long lost their lustre,
Combed with strength I barely muster,
Sticky with jam, a matted mess,
Shedding in the shower…from stress?

A forehead furrowed with concern,
Drowsy, dreams yearning to return,
Pressed against yours amidst the din,
Weathering the tempest within.

Zombie eyes, sunken in shadow,
Yet, as you bloom they are aglow,
Sharp ears, haunted by phantom cries,
Delighting in your songs and sighs.

My squishy nose, mum’s gift (or curse),
Assaulted by sick and…much worse.
Lips that kiss away hurt inside,
Nibbled raw yet smiling with pride.

Neck stiff from arms that hang too tight,
Aching arms that held you all night,
My back bears all, creaking and sore,
As I scoop Lego from the floor.

Breasts, once pleasantly round, now sag,
My belly a jelly-filled bag,
Which nourished and comforted you,
Gave you a warm home as you grew.

Hands that craft urgent works of art,
Hold tight through jabs and broken hearts,
Hands that wash, dry, mend and repeat,
Cooking meals you refuse to eat.

Tree-trunk thighs that rub and jiggle,
Good for bouncing as you giggle,
Hairy, white legs with knees red raw,
From kneeling on your bedroom floor.

Feet blistered from roaming the zoo,
Hidden parts of me aching too:
Stomach empty and acidic,
My own mind my harshest critic.

Through all this, what keeps me going?
My heart, with love overflowing.
I once thought that is all you need,
But now the truth I must concede.

I need to take care of myself,
Not sacrifice my joy and health,
I’m learning what I need to do,
To love myself as I love you.

over to you

I hope you enjoyed my poem. I’d love to hear your thoughts and constructive feedback in the comments below.

Check out the other entries

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48 responses to “All You Need is Love #WEPFF

  1. Well done! This hits hard – as moms we so often put ourselves very last and that’s a dangerous thing to do – and a terrible message to pass on to the ones we love the best. Learning to love ourselves (as is) is the best gift we can give to them … and us! Great job!

  2. Oh, I agree. We need to take care of ourselves and love ourselves too, with all our imperfections. Because if we don’t, nobody else will either. It is a harshest lesson a mother has to learn, but it is necessary. Great poem!

  3. Great to have you back, Anstice. I’m not a poet either but I adore poetry. I didn’t find too much wrong with the structure and rhythm as the subject matter intrigued me. A great message on self care delivered in the best way possible. I don’t think prose would have worked so well.

    • Thank you. Yes, it seems to be so common. I hope that now the idea of “self-care” is more popular, it will be easier for future generations. It was practically unheard of in my grandparents era.

  4. Hi,
    I really love this poem because it points out the mistakes that so many mothers make and many find out when it is much too late that they should have taken care of themselves as well as raise their child or children. I also believe that learning how to divide that much-needed nurturing time a woman needs for herself is hard to do Women tend to give all to others.
    Shalom aleichem

    • Thank you so much, Pat. I had a similar realisation recently after suffering from burn-out. It was a lesson I learned the hard way, unfortunately. It’s all to easy to forget to take care of ourselves with so much pressure to be perfect in a variety of different roles.

  5. Really resonated with me as a mother, poetry fan and poet. I find the message often chooses its own form and this form – the rhyme and quatrain structure felt absolutely right. An important, often overlooked aspect of parenting portrayed with elan. Well done!

  6. I thought the poem flowed well. The subject matter is timely, especially for those of us in the “senior” years. Sometimes, we forget the importance of self-care and self-love. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. This one really resonated with me. I could relate to the body imagery (things have certainly changed since I first started having kids), and the line about cooking a meal the kids refused to eat got a laugh out of me. I’ve been there many times.

    Wonderfully done!

  8. Hi Anstice – this was brilliantly constructed and thought through – I could definitely see it all – even not having had kids. We need to have balance in our lives … so much more I could say … but you and your commenters have portrayed the prompt so well – congratulations … cheers Hilary

    • Thank you, Hilary. I think women (whether we have children or not) tend to take on lots of responsibility and end up in the role of nurturing and caring for others. There is so much pressure on us to be “perfect”. It’s easy to forget to look after ourselves.

  9. Really enduring and so true. Mothers tend to put everyone before themselves.

    “It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” — Mandy Hale

    “Selfishness excludes others, whereas self-care does not.”

  10. How beautiful Anstice and what an amazing message. I’m glad you turned this into a poem. Sorry I got late visiting. Congratulations on the win. Well deserved.

  11. It can be difficult to put yourself first and like who you are. Very good offering for the prompt.
    Hope you’re having a great day! My latest blog post has my theme for the April #AtoZChallenge (I’m writing speculative fiction and looking for prompts).
    At Operation Awesome we have the #PassOrPages query contest going on (friends or enemies to lovers Romance).
    Looks like I’ll be very busy the next few weeks!
    March quote: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” – Mark Twain

  12. Beautifully done. It’s a lesson I’m still learning, but after so many years it’s a bad habit not easily broken. A new goal as I move forward, or rather, an unfulfilled one!
    Congratulations on your win!

    • I think most women can relate to that. We have to undo so many negative messages taught to us by society, the media, even our own family perhaps.

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