Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Where is Home? Where Are You From?

Over at Grace's today, Michelle left a comment that held a re-posting a poem by Louise Glück...revisiting childhood place.  That reminded me of a poem that my sister shared with me by George Ella Lyon titled Where I'm From.  Go on over to her site and check it out.  While there do listen to her recite this beauty of a poem full of language and emotion.  
It feels like familiar comfort and discovery all at once.   
When my sister shared this poem and her own version, I knew I had to try it too, enjoying creative thinking as I do!  I embraced the title expressing the concept that where we are from is really made up of all the little things that create our day to day existence or our bigger life events.  Usually when someone asks you, "Where are you from?"... usually you name a town or a city or a state.  If this person asking is from the same general area, well then you may mention a street or a well-known landmark or place of business to help that person to visualize where you're from.  But really we are from those little things that brand our memories, embellish our traditions and inspire us to stay or to move on to find new homes, elsewhere.  
But no matter where you end up, where you're from travels with you.
What I love about this poem is that it inspires anyone, everyone to reflect in poetic sensibilities.  So maybe Grace is from a Singer Sewing machine and Cindy is from wire flower petals.  I love that this poem has taken on a life of its own and teachers in many schools have embraced it, and used it to inspire their students, to teach their students.  Some creative teachers have even had students make videos of where they're from.
So have you popped over and experienced the original yet?  
Go ahead, but hurry back!
 While you're there, take a peak at this well-done video
Here is my version.  I include it not as a great piece of writing.  I think it's still in process, but I've not yet decided.  The thing about this poem is that once you get started, more and more memories just keep coming back to you!  That can be a real treat at times!  I share my version, to inspire you to write your own.

I’m From

I’m from early morning waitings, smell of dew, and cool pavement on the backs of my legs
I’m from cream cheese and jelly sandwiches and “Do I have to eat my olive sandwich?”
I’m from protest folk songs at a hillside gathering each day’s end

I’m from birch trees to climb, sprinklers to run through, and pill bugs to gather from the dark moist soil at the planter’s shaded edge

I’m from children’s books known by heart, adult book titles studied but never read, and stacks of 45’s played on repeat

I’m from Peanuts comics, a well-organized desk and helping to grade tests in red

I’m from meat and potatoes and meatloaf with crunchy rosemary ‘bones’ in it

I’m from Tom Lehrer, Vicki Carr, Danny Kaye and show tunes by the dozens

I’m from moccasins, sunflower seeds, Helm’s Bakery truck salt-water taffy and a running tab with the ice cream man

I’m from “That’s enough already!” and “Don’t touch the remote” to family famous BBQ hamburgers and kosher hot dogs

I’m from walls to climb over, roofs to climb on, clotheslines to swing from, and the pungent smell and fear of ‘poisonous’ oleanders.

On my mother’s shelf is a row of meticulously created photo books that combine two households and contain the family memories year by year

July 24, 2011

I'm from special bracelets that fit like a puzzle or make jingly music with charms
Thank you for stopping by to share poetry and memories!
Photos by NAE @pomegranatetrail ©2011


Penny Berens said...

A lovely post, Nancy, that sent me on such interesting trips around the Ethernet! Of course I visit Grace just about very day. And today I loved your sister's roast veg recipe. And George Ella ...I love how she describes herself as a word weaver. Think I'll go and work out where I'm from now.

jude said...

this was really nice....

Nancy said...

Penny- yes a word weaver, I liked that too. I'm so very glad that you were inspired to weave some words yourself!
Jude- Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by!

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

do you see your self on Jude's

Nancy said...

I do now!!! Thanks Grace :)

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

it meant a LOT to me when that
happened for me.

Nancy said...

Me too! And I was so touched by the title: Sensitivity.
It fits and it feels so respected to have it said like that there, ya know. I've been told in the past that I am too sensitive...but I won't accept that insult. I am who I am.
Thanks Jude. It really Does mean so much! :)
Thanks Grace, for being you.

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

back to your post...this is
really wonderful. i can imagine,
more and more, what just a Fine
teacher you are. thank you
for this. i am thinking about it
all day.

Nancy said...

Grace - so glad this left you thinking. It has been valuable for me, so I was hoping it would be for others too. We are all *from* so much aren't we?