musings, life lessons & poetry from Theresa Jarosz Alberti

Poetry Challenge – Day 23

Welcome to Day 23 of my 30-Day Poetry Challenge!

Comment on today’s poem to win a copy of my poetry book, “(After) Confession… I’m giving away a copy every day. Scroll down below the poem for more details about this Poetry Challenge.

But first, congratulations, Heather VF, for winning a free copy of my poetry book! (I do a raffle from those who commented on yesterday’s post.) Heather, please email me your address so I can send your prize:

Now onto today’s poem. Don’t forget to comment, and check back tomorrow to see if you’ve won!

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Today I almost didn’t make it, guys. a busy day and a friend over for dinner, plenty of wine, and my tired brain didn’t want to stay up and finish a poem. But I did… so much of this project is about learning that if I sit and make space for writing, even if I’m not in the mood, something usually comes. It may not be great, but it’s something, and just going through the process feels good. 



I grew up learning to make shields,
maybe we all do,
thick shiny metal. I felt safer behind them.
Who cares if my arm got tired carrying
their heft and bulk?
I made them because it’s what I saw,
all that I knew, really. How else to protect
my tender psyche, so naked, so soft,
so exposed, for anyone anywhere to wound?

I saw plenty of battle shields around me.
There didn’t seem to be any other tools
to cope with life. I could at least control
a shield, wield it, duck behind it, let
it take the blows for me. Hide
behind my judgments. HIde
myself behind people-pleasing. Hide
behind a negativity-bias. Hide
behind trying to be perfect. Hide
behind limiting beliefs. Just for starters.

Now my job is to get out of the war zone.
The perceived threats were always
worse than reality. I’m learning
how to put down my shields,
one at a time. Life is unpredictable, and we
miss so much trying to protect ourselves from it.
Come out from hiding. You were never that safe
anyways. Trust me, I learned so well
It’s impossible for anyone to get close to you,
see the real you, when you
hide yourself so well.

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  • I’m writing and posting a new poem every day through the month of April (yikes!), for better or worse.
  • AND, as a gift, I’m giving away a copy of my poetry book EVERY DAY this month. FREE!
  • Sign up to WIN a copy of (After) Confession by just leaving a comment beneath the poem of the day.
  • I will pick a winner every day in April! So comment every day for a new chance to win.

OR, you can purchase your own copy of (After) Confession for the new low price of $9.00 USD, shipping and handling included! Click here to read sample poems and purchase a copy.

April is National Poetry Month, which was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996.

This month’s posts are part of the  NaPoWriMo challenge — that’s National Poetry Writing Month. At, you’ll find links to other participating writers and their poetry. AND daily writing prompts for inspiration to write your own poems. Check them out.

I’m so looking forward to your comments–  it doesn’t have to be about the poem. Write anything, share the name of your favorite poet or poem, write about the weather, whatever! And thanks for reading.

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Photo credit:Andres Gerlotti, and Henry Hustava, courtesy of


  1. SherriH

    I’m so impressed with the work you’ve put in on this, and the great work that has resulted! I especially like these lines in today’s poem:
    “Life is unpredictable, and we
    miss so much trying to protect ourselves from it.
    Come out from hiding. ”
    So true! And truth is something you do not shy away from. 🙂
    Keep up the great work — you are an inspiration to me (as always!)

    • Theresa Alberti

      Thanks so much, dear Sherri! I’m so glad if anything I write inspires. I’ve learned a lot about not shying away from truth, oh yes.

  2. Ann Hobbs

    Welcome to the sheildless world. May we make it so for everyone.!

    • Theresa Alberti

      I’m glad to be here with you, Ann… and yes, we can hope for others to join in.

  3. Nora Jane Krahn

    Shields spoke to me in a deep way….. I am familiar with how to protect myself in many situations. In fact when I was working with particularly volatile families , I will imagine a plexiglass shield keeping me safe from their outbursts!
    Thanks for speaking to such a personal topic.

    • Theresa Alberti

      Thanks, Nora– I totally get it: sometimes shields are necessary in some situations, and I’ve done the same thing of imagining physical boundaries between me and a bad boss, for instance. And for me, it has also been necessary to take the shields off when connecting with people, because that used to not feel safe for me at all.

  4. Ann Rolle Kreider

    Hiding behind a shield can be exhausting. Like holding a grudge, or remembering a lie.

    • Theresa Alberti

      So true, my friend. It’s much heavier than we realize at the time. And then the freedom in putting it down, letting go.

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