The Queen of My Self

By Karen Clothier


After Octavio Paz


after chopping off all the arms that reached out to me;
after boarding up all the windows and doors;

after filling all the pits with poisoned water;
after building my house on the rock of no,
inaccessible to flattery and fear;

after cutting off my tongue and eating it;
after hurling handfuls of silence
and monosyllable of scorn at my loves;

after forgetting my name;
and the name of my birthplace;
and the name of my race;

after judging and sentencing myself
to perpetual waiting,
and perpetual loneliness, I heard
against the stones of my dungeon of syllogisms,

the humid, tender, insistent
onset of spring.

Of course, we can only find love once we love ourselves, so to me whether you are partnered or not, Self-love is the most worthy of causes. This poem poignantly describes my journey through Perimenopause for the last 10 years, as my demons have been thrust face-to-face with me, forcing me to tenderly start learning to love myself. It paints in blunt detail that which I didn’t dare to see before now, the hurts caused to myself and others by my own lack of self-love. With this awareness has come great tenderness and compassion for myself and my loved ones, for all those hurts we inflict on each other, many of them unwittingly. So if you’ve ever been told and bought into the story that Self-love is a selfish pursuit, this poem should set things straight. So much of the hurt in the world is unconsciously caused by the absence of self-love.


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Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to


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