Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts
Blue Mountain Arts

Poetry Contest Winners :: Fourth Contest :: Second Place Winner


Pink Ribbons: The Ties That Bind

by Beth Thompson

I never realized the strength
a tiny bit of ribbon can impart
until I pinned a twist of pink
above my heart to symbolize survival;
until I saw acquaintances and friends
and loved ones wear the same,
in my name, to show their strong support.

It's so hard to reclaim your life
once the crisis ends. You're never sure
it's really over. So courage begins
with the pinning on of symbols
in the face of lasting fears.
Once the illness touches you,
you know you can't depend on cures
to last forever, so you wear pink
to show the world, and show yourself,
you're still there, and you intend to stay.

Courage is persisting in the face of fear,
not waiting until it disappears to soldier on.
A pink ribbon twist to symbolize endurance with a bit of flair -
you're still there!

We've always decorated life with ribbons:
pink or blue to celebrate the newborn
gift of life, and later, bows for gifts
to mark each birthday celebration.
Christmas bows on boxes or on wreathes,
and loops of ribbon delicate as orchids
for a first corsage or for an anniversary, counting many loving years.
Ribbons range from small reminding bows tied on fingers
to giant rosettes of blue and gold to signify a prize-winning day.
We hold together memories of life with ribbon ties.

But ribbons took on a deeper meaning
as colors came to symbolize a cause.
Those yellow ribbons tied on trees
were hope and wishes for a loved one
coming home. Ribbons pinned on uniforms, reminders of bravery
long after wars have ended: deliberately colorful as if
to triumph over conflict, over pain.

We wear what we want to say, our pledge,
what we want others to remember and respect.
So my small twist of pink
becomes the symbol of a victory
in my own small, terrifying war
and helps me seek each day
the courage to carry on.
It tells the feelings I can't always
speak aloud, from a heart grown strong,
a thousand hearts grown strong,
despite the delicate shade of pink...
the courage to believe, to heal,
the courage to carry on.

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