Friday, 2 September 2011

Where I'm From


I am from the cool and dark earthen cellar, the trap door with its heavy iron ring, from chrome-rimmed arborite and from insulbrick.

I am from lunch when the noon-day siren sounds and supper when the jigger comes home.

I am from the pink peonies on my brother's grave, the robin's nest in the lilac hedge with four sky-blue eggs and the sharp smell of creosote on a hot summer's day.

I am from hard work, hard lives and rage, from pioneer and immigrant, soldier and chamber maid.

I am from the Eaton's catalogue and squeezing nickels 'til the beaver shits, from hanging on past all endurance and then hanging on some more.

From whistling girls and crowing hens, from big rock candy mountain and you are my sunshine.

I am from a silver tinsel Christmas tree and St. Paul's junior choir practice on Thursday evenings.

I'm from across the tracks and across the ocean, from jello salads and Velveeta.

From the partially severed hand in the flour bag, my father's tattoos, patriotic bunting and "all white help."

I am from a cracked china bulldog, a bronze cherub blacksmith, a ring from Vimy Ridge and a Swiss music box.


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Last month, Elly at Bugginword posted her version of this poem and I was very taken with it. The original poem was written by an American poet, George Ella Lyon, as a poetry workshop exercise. You can see the original poem and learn about its popularity as a poetry exercise here. If you want to try your own hand at writing a personal version, there's a handy-dandy template for the poem here.

Try it yourself -- it's amazing what images it can conjure up from the past!


[P.S. -- Have you entered my giveaway yet? Click here to do so!]

27 comments:

Suzie said...

This is SO cool, I'm going to have to try it. .but you write so well to begin with, you don't need a format. You expressed yourself so beautifully.

Elena said...

This is too cool. Loved it!

Snap said...

This is wonderful. I'll have to try! Thanks for the links.

Lois said...

Oh I loved that. I'm going to try one.

laurie said...

thats so cool, I love this,, I wish it would go on longer!!

Sonia said...

I love it!

DEZMOND said...

very edgy!

mxtodis123 said...

I love it. Have to give it a try.
Mary

karena said...

Oh gosh Debra...this is fantastic writing. Thanks so much for the links...I can't wait to try my hand at it. Speaking of hands...partially severed hand in the flour bag got my attention....? I love where your from.

Lois said...

Guess what I'm doing at work... You guessed it : I am from...

Cora said...

You did such a beautiful job! I might have to give it a go.

My Grama's Soul said...

Debra....what a delight you have shared with us today. Actually, this was quite exquisite.

Jo

BugginWord said...

*swoon*

But then again, you always have that affect on me.

Beatnheart said...

wonderful poem...thanks so much SWS for your kind and sweet comment. You are always there for me...such a support. all the best and enjoy the beautiful autumn days ahead.

jaz@octoberfarm said...

for all the time i lived in canada i never squeezed a nickel until the beaver shit. i am off to look for my canadian change right now! this is going to be good.

Plowing Through Life said...

Very cool poem, Debra. I'm going to give this a try. Should be kind of fun.

SUZY8-TRACK said...

Loved this!

Inverse said...

Just beautiful.

LaelShine said...

This is an amazingly cool idea.
And the words you chose are beautiful.

laughingwolf said...

essentially, what you're saying by depicting that nickel is... you're a canadian beaver, deb? :O lol

Angel-Star said...

cool idea, and lovely, evocative poem...

i am lavender-shaded
and mysterious dove-feather
falling through autumn lace-tree

i am porch-memory and pondregret
comingled

Damon said...

great post
+follow

Makropoulos said...

Lovely images, indeed -- I'll give it a try . .

theviolethourmuse said...

Whoa....do that poem with a SoulCollage card! Thanks for the inspiration...

dbs said...

Loved this.

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

I'm sorry..I got as far as the beaver shitting and laughed so hard I couldn't read any more.

Anne Johnson said...

I have seen many of these, but yours is the best. Blessed be!