secret tenderness

She had a way of walking, like she was old summer rather than a woman; like she was slow dancing with the world. She had a smell about her that was clean, so clean, I felt mucky in her presence. I wanted to work out the secret of her effortless softness, easy quiet loveliness; I wished I could at least get my hair to look so good when it was messy - not  shambles, but a dreaming tumble of curl and light and curl.

But some people are natural poets, and some have to scrounge for rhymes.

I've come to understand that it is actually the brave or the confident who risk being openly delicate. Everyone else with a soft or magic heart learns quickly enough to protect it for fear of being hurt - finding shelter behind thorny hedges, or in library corners, or with bitter wit. They are still delicate, soft, magical, but they don't dare show it ... and don't dare show it ... until they no longer see it for themselves. They see only the way that not being true to their heart leaves them awkward and uncertain. The longing it causes them. The feeling of exile from their own selves. And I've realised that so often the tenderest of people are the ones who hide it away, pretending to be strong, coming off instead as shy, slightly wrong, socially clumsy, aloof, grouchy. And really, when I think about it, they write the best poems of all.

I will stop looking for gentleness in the way someone dresses and walks, the way they sigh over literature and how they talk. I will look instead in their eyes, and listen to their silence.


  1. Captivating gentle thoughts.
    I love looking at one's eyes, especially when they are looking elsewhere. ♥



In the quiet hours, the inbetween moments and the half-light, I sometimes like to write. My books are made from fairytale shadow and old magical songs. They speak about dreams, lost wishes, longing for something beyond the self, and always about love. You can learn about them here.

All words and images are copyright Sarah Elwell. Please do not reproduce, pin, or otherwise copy anything here without first receiving my permission. Thank you. This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services, to personalise ads and to analyse traffic. Information about your use of this site is shared with Google. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies. To learn more please visit this link