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In Beulah’s Land

My hubby Russ had a deceased aunt that no one talked about, until one day he heard a bit of her story and, in turn, wrote a poem to honor her. Here is what he shared on Facebook:

“Considering where we are with potential, historic, life-altering decisions being made by a far-right Supreme Court. I offer you this story of my Aunt—the Aunt I never knew.
My heavy heart feels her story should finally be told…

This is for all of the young women, where ever you are, on your journey.

(In honor of my Aunt Beulah)

Beulah’s Land

Heaven’s land… Oh, so far from it. So far and so long ago…
A farmer’s daughter, just one of ten. Beulah—a stranger to me, a ghost from the past.
A hushed memory. A life, invisible, framed on a bedroom wall, in a farmhouse in deep Appalachia.

Beulah, you were shamed, forgotten. You never even lived. What a shame. What a shame.

Where did you meet that man? Was he a farmer’s son?…
A preacher boy?
Did he pay you the attention that you so desperately craved?
Did he call you pretty? Did he caress your hair?
Did he kiss you deep?

Did he lay you in the tall green grass?
Say everything’s gonna be ok?
Did he love you, even for a moment?
Did he promise to take you away, away from Beulah’s Land?

Did he hurt you when he took you?
Were you forced, or did you go willingly?
I wonder if you loved him, or just the thought of it all—
to escape from nothingness to something,
Anything at all… Anywhere but Beulah’s Land.

I can only imagine your shame,
when you knew what you knew.
The boy was gone, but he left his mark, deep inside you.
Do you run away, or do you stay?
Will your daddy kill you, or will they send you away,
away from Beulah’s Land…

So, you took it in yourself, in secret and in shame.
You took your Mama’s knitting needle and thrust it deep within…
End the pain. End the misery—the inevitable shame that casts its long dark shadow…
On a life, never to be, in Beulah’s Land. In Beulah’s Land.

They said you passed from sickness, but Beulah,
now I know, that’s not so.
You died from gouging wounds—your blood turning against you, while darkness fell in Beulah’s Land.

They buried you high on a hill, deep below the tall green grass.
And that’s where they ended your story…
A hushed memory. An invisible life, framed on a bedroom wall.

Beulah, you were shamed, but not forgotten. You lived.
And I will tell your story…

For all the young girls who now live in Beulah’s Land—
poor and all alone, there is hope. There is a way…
Make your peace.
Find your strength.
Push on.
Tomorrow holds many keys…
To lives that need to be lived—stories that must be told.

Don’t let it all end in Beulah’s Land.
Live long in the tall green grass. For anything less,
would be such a shame… But, not your shame.
For, we’re all the same in Beulah Land—In Heaven’s Land,
at last.

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