What the Stories Tell Us

by Jane Yolen

If you sit weeping in the cinders
waiting to be rescued,
all you get are dirty hands,
dark smudges beneath your eyes.

If you stand handless
in the middle of a meadow,
waiting to be fed, all that happens
is you starve.

Take up the broom,
sweep your own miracles
through the dark woods
till the very dawn sings.

Reach into the water of life
with the broken ends of your arms.
Touch a curl of wave.
Grow your own silver hands.

Tears do not build a kingdom,
sweat does, though to the reader
they may look the same.
But only one will earn your freedom.

Only one will make your name.

Last updated March 25, 2023