Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Where I'm from

Pratie Place has another wonderful meme, which is producing some breathtakingly evocative results.

It's an exercise in poetry, inspired by a poem by George Ella Lyons.

The assignment is detailed at Fragments from Floyd, where a template is available (remember that all the best templates are meant to be modified).

(I'm thinking I must be missing school, or having a job with clearly defined tasks, because I'm loving these writing exercises.)

Where I'm From
I am from grapes in a garden city, where everyone would revel during the harvest.
I don't remember many gardens, but once there were orchards where our house stood.
In one flowerbed, behind our house, my siblings dug a hole among the sunflowers to plant me.

I am from the secrets and wisdom of matriarchy, from Alina and Helena.
But I am from the Stanislaw, too, and the conviction of his beliefs, for which he would risk everything, many times over.
The others are strangers.

From mosquito-filled summers, looking for ghosts and aliens in the woods, blinding bats with our battery lights.
From Nancy Drew and a violin.
From a scholastic experiment, with games and puzzles and travels, and exercises in futurism.
"Everything will be better in the morning."

I arrived in a Popemobile, moving in modern way. There were many rituals, but no one remembers what they mean. When nobody answers me I read philosophy and science.

I come from parsnip, radish, and beets. I filled up on soup. I hated milky tea.
Now I drink tea with lemon from a glass.
But like others, I measure many days with coffee spoons.

From the Soviet prison for dropping leaflets at school, trading bread for cigarettes, because he was young and didn't know better, and the battle at Monte Cassino.
She was on trains. Lvov to Archangelsk. Samarkand, Tashkent, Dzhambul, Alma Ata, and back again. Tehran and blind from malnutrition. In India finally, she left her malarial body for a moment's peace.
In England, they fell in love and crossed the ocean.

I am proud on bookshelves and hidden in shoeboxes. My mother can't remember all the names and places, but we keep looking, searching the glint in their eyes for clues.

I am from the mirth of she who has come after me. She has my grandmother's name.


Suzanne said...

How beautiful!

Kimberly said...

While writing mine, I found myself wanting to ask questions of so many people no longer alive. The few who are may be surprised by the questions I ask.

The last two paragraphs of yours gave me goosebumps.

Mary said...

Thank you so very much for posting this and the link back to the template. I'll be sharing this.
Your poem is lovely. I'm from Nancy Drew and a piano. And also from "Quiet".

Love your blog.

terrilynn said...

> I am from the mirth of she who has come after me. She has my grandmother's name.

This is especially beautiful.

Lynda said...

Your poem is wonderful and I am glad I have read it - thank you.