Where Are You From?
Some time ago a Facebook friend*, who is also a follower of this blog, challenged us to write about where we are from. She suggested that we use as a template a poem written by Kentucky’s 2015-2016 poet laureate, George Ella Lyon.
Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon
I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.
I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.
I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments–
snapped before I budded —
leaf-fall from the family tree.
I took the challenge and in a few short moments had no difficulty writing about where I’m from. I’m not a poet, but it was a wonderful exercise in turning memories over in one’s mind. It can also make us contemplate the impact our beginnings had on where we are today.
Where I’m From by Sue Mattingly
I am from creek bottoms,
crawfish, and chiggers.
I am from an old apple tree,
Under which my rope swing hung.
I am from the hollyhocks
in my Grandmother’s yard
from which she helped me to
fashion fancy dolls.
I’m from biscuits and jam,
and from a galvanized tub for Saturday baths.
I’m from water bucket and dipper
and from the milking parlor down the road,
from spunk and playing April Fool’s
Jokes on my Grandfather!
I’m from “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”
sung with Pat on the front porch swing
and Vacation Bible School every summer.
I’m from Crooked Creek and Anderson County
From the front yard so carefully mown by my Dad
using a push mower without a motor
and the four room house Mother kept spic and span.
Against the front fence leaned my brother’s bike
which I sat on and pretended I could ride
when I heard a car coming down the gravel road.
I am from those times —
and yet feel like a foreigner —
when I try to return.
I challenge you to write your own and I would love it if you shared your poem with us in the comments section here. I look forward to reading and to learning more about your beginnings. Thank you and a special thank you to *Cindi Carmen.
If you are interested in reading more about Lyon see: http://www.georgeellalyon.com/where.html