Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Where I’m From, An Adaptation

Over on Genea-Musings, the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun was to write a poem, based on George Ella Lyons’ poem “Where I’m From,” using the Where I’m From template posted by Fred First in November of 2003.

I’m a couple of days late, but here’s my version, which occasionally departs from the template:

Where I’m From by Pamela D. Lloyd

I am from white, sandy beaches and warm Gulf water, from dark, warm, muggy nights  and catching fireflies on the front lawn.

I am from the hot, gritty sands of the Southwest desert, alive with lizards and jackrabbits.

I’m from Southern houses built of wood, with front porches and green grass all around, and tall trees for shade and home-made swings.

I’m from brick ranch houses with covered patios in back, scraggly grass, mimosa and mulberry trees, and plastic flowers in the flower bed because my mother had a “brown thumb.”

I am from the sea grass growing on sand dunes, and the sharp, spiny stalks of the agave and the leaves of the creosote bush, crushed in my hands to release it’s pungent, medicinal odor.

I am from off-tune lullabies and staying up too late, from Luella and Winston, Granny Rote and Granny Sissy, from my brothers, from my aunts and uncles, from my cousins.

I am from scientific answers to childish questions and handed down dolls dressed in baby clothes I once wore.

From silent home movies and tall tales of wounds received in the French and Indian War.

I am from an ex-Southern Baptist who asked, “Who created God?” and from hearing my mother say, pulling words laden with anguish and anger from deep within, “I have seen evil committed in the name of the Lord.” From devout atheism and deeply held, very personal, religious belief, both denying small-town holier-than-thou hypocrisy.

I'm from Chicago, from Pensacola, from El Paso, from Lloyds and Rotes. I’m from pan-fried mushrooms, sweet watermelon dripping down my chin, and the gumbo my northern-bred mother made for my southern-bred father.

From the airplane-propeller-mangled arm of my grandfather, the knick-knacks in my grandmother’s curio cabinet. In her closet, my mother kept boxes of figures made from hollowed eggs, crepe paper, and gimp, things she’d made as a camp counselor, that she taught us how to make, anew.

I am from paper dolls my mother played with, children’s books written fifty years before I was born, and my mother’s wind-up musical jewelry box full of treasures. I am from chemistry sets, learning how to build a radio, and how to change a tire. I am from all the books I read, from fairy tales and Robin Hood, from mysteries and science fiction.

I am from Adam and Eve, from Lucy, from nomads who hunted mammoths, from small, quick mammals that avoided the teeth and claws of dinosaurs, from the first amoeba to swim in the primordial seas.

I am one twig, one tiny branch, with two bright, shining leaves, on my tree of deep roots and many branches. One teeny-tiny fragment of the tree of Terran life.