Reading can change our perspectives, horizons and it can impact the way we think. Reading shapes us. These Caitlyn Siehl poems left a footprint on my personal development. See if she can do the same for you!
I was 16 years old when I first read a Caitlyn Siehl poem. Finding her words in that confusing time of my life was what I call serendipity.
As I was beginning to feel the need to be more vocal, as a girl, as a woman, in the process of becoming, Caitlyn’s poems assured me that my feelings are right – we deserve and must be heard.
When The Boys Come
I read When The Boys Come to my 25-year-old friend, who is not even planning to have children anytime soon.
Yet, the poem is so inspiring and encourages young girls to nourish their wildest nature and to let free of their truest selves, that she printed the poetry, and said she’s going to read it to her daughter, whenever it is that she has one!
“When the boys pull your hair
and push you to the ground
I promise not to tell you that it’s
because they like you.
when the teachers call home to
tell me that
you pushed them to the ground
I’ll take you out of school early
and buy you
your favorite ice cream.
When you get older and the
try to touch you when you
don’t want to be touched
I’ll look at you like the sun
when you come home
with anger in your fists.
They all tell you not to fight fire
but that is only because they
are afraid of your flames.
When the boys yell after you
you yell back, baby.
I will not teach you to be afraid
of your anger
so that you look for it in others.
I will not make you be the
because you already are.
You want to fight them? fight them.
Don’t you dare apologize for
the fierce love
you have for yourself
and the lengths you go to
When the boys try to tell you to
I hope you make them bleed
with your edges.
I hope you remember that you
are not theirs
that their disappointment in
you is not yours.
When the boys come to your
door with pretty words and
I hope you show them the
anger in yours.
I hope you show them just how
strong your mommy
thinks you are.
I hope you show them the
animal they can’t always
see in their own reflection.
when the boys come with the
intention of hurting you
my advice will always stay the
same, my darling:
Give them hell!”
— Caitlyn Siehl, When The Boys Come
What We Buried
Many times in our head we make up situations and scenarios of things we wish we could have said, feelings we wish we could have expressed or actions we wish we had done.
This short poem focuses on the times where you had the chance to do all of them. This poetry tries to give you a second chance to save yourself, without waiting for someone else to save you. For me, these lines were sublime!
“In this story, you find a way to pick the lock, to wake up, to climb out of the tower yourself.
In this story, you’re angry.
In this story, you meet a dragon and it is afraid of you.
In this story, you don’t need to be saved.”
— Caitlyn Siehl, What We Buried
Caitlyn Siehl never gets old on poetries and lines that call out to women. This specific poem was very powerful in terms of deconstructing stereotypes and social norms that don’t allow girls to take better care of themselves, because they’re immediately accused of being selfish. “Take over the city, own the mountains” made me want to embrace my feminine power, and conquer the world!
“Girl, bite. Girl, devour. Girl, don’t forgive.
Girl, stay angry. Girl, be selfish.
Girl, walk away from him when he raises his hand.
There is no place that can handle you,
but you must go anyway, to the hills,
the mountains, the cities.
They’ll call you monster,
and they’ll be so right.
Girl, show them.
Girl, run your hands along the
wound and seal it with your
They thought they could get to you.
They thought they could take you
and make you small.
There may be bruises but you are
no little thing.
Girl, show them your claws.
Show them your wings.
Show them your army of injuries
who have come to fight.
Show them the others like you.
Take over the city. Own the mountains.
Bite the hand and the one
behind their back with all the good stuff.
Girl, show your teeth.
Never forget what you can do with them.”
- Caitlyn Siehl, Girl
It Ends or It Doesn’t
Although it may sound like a sad, pessimistic poem, these lines actually encourage you and want to make you understand that we are adaptable human beings. We get used to anything – including leaving in the absence of important people in our lives. The line that says “learn how to make enough coffee for yourself alone” gives you the absolute chills. Hope it has the same impact on you.
“It ends or it doesn’t.
That’s what you say. That’s
how you get through it.
The tunnel, the night,
the pain, the love.
It ends or it doesn’t.
If the sun never comes up,
you find a way to live
If they don’t come back,
you sleep in the middle of the bed,
learn how to make enough coffee
for yourself alone.”
— Caitlyn Siehl, It Ends or It Doesn’t
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