Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I am from... 

A couple of days ago, Melinama at Pratie Place wrote about a lovely poetry exercise based on George Ella Lyon's poem Where I'm From. The exercise was originally from this post at Fragments from Floyd; it includes directions for the exercise, as well as a template of sorts to aid the process. Here are my first thoughts:

Where I'm From

I am from picture books. I am from Fiestaware and cut glass salt cellars. I am from tape measure, T-square and sawdust.

I am from the mid-century modernism of white walls, cool terrazzo floors, and expanses of glass to which small green tree frogs clung on summer mornings. From Bertoia and Knoll, and the smooth black leather of an Eames lounge chair.

I am from fast-moving thunderstorms, and fireflies at dusk above a field of daylilies.

I am from a dictionary open on the table and the first gray hair by eighteen, from Reed and Roberta, now bridge partners forever, and from Ettric, a Viking who made Scotland home.

I am from a passion for education and not talking about feelings. From don’'t let the cool air out, and you can do anything you put your mind to.

I am from lace dyed with tea for the collar of a small handsewn dress, and a hand-me-down violin.

I am from dour, predestined Presbyterians, mellowed over time and by the times, singing let there be peace on earth, arms entwined. From Jesus loves the little children and we exist to let others know they matter to God by showing them that they matter to us.

I'm from the steamy Texas Gulf coast and the stormy sea between Ulster and Scotland, from cornbread dressing, homegrown tomatoes and jars of homemade bread-and-butter pickles on pantry shelves.

I a’m from the man who gathered medicinal plants in the east Texas piney woods as his mother had taught him, the woman who believed in raising a boy to be a good husband rather than a good son, and the boy who decided to become an architect when he learned what the word meant.

In the top drawer of my parents’' sideboard are envelopes and albums filled with photos. The star sapphire ring on my finger, a gift across three generations, is older than any of them.

I don't know that I'm quite finished with this one yet... it may change over the next few days. Would anyone else care to play?