Thursday, May 04, 2006

Poetry Thursday: "Where Am I From?"

First of all, I want to point out that Poetry Thursday now has its very own brand new blog, complete with a snazzy button which I've already put over there >>> on my sidebar. Doesn't it look pretty? Yay! That'll make it easier to find participants. Thanks for setting it up Liz Elayne and Lynn! Since I stumbled across Poetry Thursday and started participating, I've been alternating between posting things I write myself (such as they are!) and sharing some of my favorite published poems by various poets. This week I'm doing something somewhere in between. When I stopped by Angela's blog last Thursday, she'd posted her version of a poem she called "I Am From." It all started with a poem called "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyons. You can read the original poem here. Then somewhere along the way a challenge started up for people to take the bones of this poem and interpret it in their own way. You can even find a sort of guideline here. Angela warned that we should be prepared to be sucked in and I was. I started thinking about my childhood - home, family, colors, scents, sounds, feelings - and before I knew it I was writing my own story of "Where I'm From." So here is my attempt at a word picture of my childhood. (Please be kind, as I'm much more comfortable writing limericks or smartass haiku than much of anything serious!) Where Am I From? I am from box fans in the windows on nights too hot to sleep; and from homemade snowcream melting sweetly on my tongue in a time before anyone thought eating snow could be scary. I am from Chevys and Pontiacs rolling heavy and solid down curving roads; and from old wooden clocks ticking away the minutes, chiming away the hours. I am from spring days under the forsythia watching a world tinted sunshine-yellow; and from dark nights listening to the thorns of the black-red rose scratch the house below my bedroom window. I am from visits to libraries and to cool, musty museums; from trips to the zoo and learning as fun. I am from a bright, pretty small-town girl and a quiet, studious farm boy whose lives converged amid books and classes long before anyone ever called them "Mom" and "Dad". I am from readers and teachers, punsters and packrats; from good Southern cooks, and blue eyes looking at life through smudged lenses. I am from "finish your supper if you want dessert" and "Grampa likes his girls slim and trim"; and from looking in a mirror, wondering if I was too fat for Grampa to love. I am from "Amazing Grace" and "Just As I Am"; from hellfire and brimstone, and a new dress for Easter. I am from a sleepy Ohio river town; and from kinfolk clinging to the Appalachian foothills; from soup beans and cornbread and sweet tea in tall icy glasses. I am from cartoon cats drawn with purple crayon on pink walls; from picking blackberries along the fencerows, catching lightning bugs in jars, and from playing hide'n'seek at dusk, surrounded by the wild, heavy scent of honeysuckle. I am from formal portraits placed just-so in the big brown album; and from fading snapshots stuffed any-which-way into shoe boxes. I am from family mementoes tucked carefully away in a cedar chest - saved, but not used; and from family love tucked carefully away in our hearts - deeply felt, but seldom spoken. "Where Am I From?"