Thursday, May 25, 2006

Poetry Thursday - Where I'm From

To borrow a phrase from Fred at Fragments from Floyd
- "'If you don't know where you're from, you'll have a hard time saying where you're going.' Wendell Berry, among others, has voiced this idea that we need to understand our roots to know our place in the world."
The inspiration for this post is from a number of places perhaps the poem Where I'm From by George Ella Lyons is the place to start.

Where I’m From
I am from printer’s ink and hospital disinfectant
stacks of endless paper and smells of ether.

I am from green lawns, camellias, fuchsias and baby tear moss, secret garden hiding places, hollyhock dolls and dream castles all rolled into one.

From fences filled with chayote and passion flower vines, the fragrance of white roses in moonlight and acres of apricots just beyond the last streetcar stop.

I am from Pot-luck dinners, picnics in the park, beloved voices raised in laughter, the sound of the merry-go-round, the half-fearful joy of going up and down. Clinton’s cafeteria, subway rides and ice-cream cones, paddle boats on the lake in Echo Park, swans eating from my hand beside the fountain.

I am from watching breathlessly as the trains come in, listening for the whistle, the chug, chug, chug of the engine, the hiss of steam billowing along the cars – wishing, yes wishing I could climb on when the conductor calls “all aboard.”

I am from textile paint, wood fiber flowers, a dining table filled with silk, satin and tulle the late night whir of the sewing machine, the clack of printing presses, iron lungs, and empty places, loneliness and doctors and dark night tears.

I am from pulpit pounding preachers, a God who couldn’t hear, cross-matched with beloved saints, the serenity of caring hands and voices and spirit filled retreats.

I’m from an amalgamated heritage of Daughters of the American Revolution and strong, creative immigrant stock; fresh squeezed orange juice, pomegranates, avocados, artichokes, Campbell’s soup and peanut butter sandwiches

I am from gathering shells in tide pools and on warm sandy beaches, from popping seaweed with barefoot toes, from magnifying glasses, nature guides and tables filled with samples and specimens waiting to be identified and named.

I am from treasured books and handmade maple dressers, from joy and laughter and too many memories to name.

I got this from Tabor at One Day at a Time The template and responses from some other people can be found at Fred's site Fragments from Floyd


Blogger mab said...

WOW, a menegerie of wonderful metaphor and vivid imagery...loved it! brava!


12:17 PM  
Blogger Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

You are from holy places and moments true! This tribute to yourself and to your past is remarkable!

12:24 PM  
Blogger Beltane said...

Love Candi

2:01 PM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

This is wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing this remarkable piece.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Wenda said...

Thanks for the inspiration and the links. I enjoyed this so much.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Deb R said...

I've loved every variation of this I've seen and yours is no exception. Lovely!

5:47 PM  
Blogger Sigrid Jardin said...

This is beautifully done, very moving and evocative, and truly gives a feeling of place and time out of time. I'm inspired!

6:56 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...


9:25 PM  
Blogger lené said...

I love your poem, Endment. What a beautiful way to bring all the pieces together--to collage a life in a line of words.

10:15 PM  
Blogger LauraHinNJ said...

I love this - may just have to give it a try!

10:42 PM  
Blogger Bogart said...

This is outstanding. We are our experiences.

11:31 PM  
Blogger Joy Eliz said...

What a fantastic post! I love this picture!!!

Here's something funny...for the first time ever...I saw tear drop sprigs growing from moss - just a few days ago - Now I know what its called!
I've recently become a lover of moss and have been collecting it, and replanting it inbetween the bricks of my patio.

11:59 PM  
Blogger chiefbiscuit said...

This is fantastic - thanks for the memories! Wonderful stuff and gives a real picture of who endmnet is - or where she comes from anyway :)

12:09 AM  
Blogger silverlight said...

Yes, We are what we eat. 'Eat'- being a metaphor for 'influences'. It's what we do with it that makes who we end up being.

12:44 AM  
Blogger fred said...

Nicely done, rich with sensory messages, especially smell.

I met George Ella and was able to tell her how far her poem had gone in the webworld. She was amazed, and delighted!

5:51 AM  
Blogger kerrdelune said...

Gorgeous, simply gorgeous and it is something to cherish. Your own rendering of "I am From" is (I think) the best one of all and it really resonates with me.

8:14 AM  
Blogger abhay k said...

A poem full of imageries and rare sense of belongingness...
I loved reading it and I am inspired to say
"I know where I come from and where i am going".

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh I loved reading this. My favorite line was,

"I am from gathering shells in tide pools and on warm sandy beaches, from popping seaweed with barefoot toes"

Beautiful, just beautiful.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

very, very good and enjoyable to read.

10:48 AM  
Blogger Left-handed Trees... said...

This is a fabulous prompt--and I love what you've done with it, conjuring up a crystal clear picture of time and place. Every sense is hit here--masterfully done. I truly loved this post.

10:53 AM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

This is so beautifully done. Quite lovely and inspiring.

11:39 AM  
Anonymous Travis Jay Morgan said...

This creative and colorful poem left me with a few thoughts... If one were to ask me any of these questions..."What are you doing right now?", "Where are you from", "Where are you going" I would have to answer...

"I am inbetween coming and going."

Best Regards, Travis Jay Morgan

6:42 PM  
Blogger Tabor said...

Good job. I can see through you to your soul. I love the way this exercise reveals what makes us who we are even though it is a little intimidating.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Living Part Deux said...

I felt like I was reading a book, could see the days and years and blending together to make you you. It is just wonderful.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Endment said...

mab, tongue in cheek antiques, paris parfait
thank you for your very kind words

thanks love

wenda nairn
hope you also write up your own "Where I'm From"

Thank you

sigrid jardin
you are very kind

thanks for your comment jimmy

This was a fun exercise - perhaps i will attempt to write it again based on where i am in life today

oh, I really hope you will do this exercise. I will be watching...:)

thanks - we are made of so many many experiences

joy eliz
thank you
glad you know about baby tears... I love mosses - we have quite an assortment here - we are very blessed.

right - where she comes from - are you going to write your own "Where I'm From"

you too- I would love to read your "Where I'm From."

Oh thank you Fred I am so glad you put together this exercise.

How delightful to meet George Ella... If you have any occasion let her know that it is still going

you have put together a wonderful "Where I am From" Thanks so much - i really love your relationship with the earth!

abhay k
thank you - I know where I came from and sometimes I know where I am going....

glad you like that line - one of my fondest memories is popping seeweed and feeling the squish

thanks for your visit and your comment

c. delia
isn't it a fun prompt - hope you will join us in telling about "Where I'm From"

robin andrea
you are so kind - thank you

travis jay morgan
I relate to the being between coming and going - by the way you have a very inspiring blog

thanks so much for the idea... as you can tell - I had fun

perhaps I shouldn't have written so much... once you reach my age - there is a bit to tell :)

9:36 PM  
Blogger TDharma said...

beautiful portrait in words...and I love the photo as well. What a rich life, too many memories to name, ideed.

1:21 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

This is so beautiful. ".. the fragrance of white roses in moonlight and acres of apricot beyond the last streetcar stop".

But all of it is so lovely, it's really invidious to single out any phrase.

Thank you Endment. A gem.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Endment said...

tdharma -
don't know how to use a quavery old voice when writing - but... The rich life is due to the passing of many years :)

one of the things I miss most is the fragrance of the apricot blossoms in the spring and muching the sweet fruit right off the trees - yummy

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Fran aka Redondowriter said...

This exercise is such a wonderful one; I did it several months ago. We are from a lot of similar places, by the way. Wish we could take a bird walk together here in Port Angeles, WA where I'm visiting son et al. I live in the city and its wondrous to be in the "wilds," at least comparatively. So much new to see and appreciate.

11:13 AM  
Blogger Endment said...

fran aka redondowriter
I really enjoy Port Angeles, would love to walk with you. Hope you continue to have a lovely visit!

7:00 PM  

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