Sunday, July 02, 2006

Where I am From

"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.And medicine, law, business, engineering - these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love - these are what we stay alive for.”
This is one of my favorite quotes from the film The Dead Poets Society. I especially used it when my engineering major friends would wonder why the university even had an English major.


One of my fellow writers showed me this exercise that focuses on tangible things from our past. It is really quite easy when you follow the form. In doing the exercise, however, we discovered that life is too big to put into one poem. You have things from your childhood, the emotional teen years, college, Mom's side of the family, Dad's influence, and what not. Every day new memories and ideas come up. So, I think I may have to put the date in the title because they are the images that impressed me on that particular day. This weekend I took a stab a writing my own focusing on the pre high school years.

I challenge you to write your own Where I Am From poem and post it (you can put it as a comment). It is easy when you use this template

Where I Am From in Early July, 2006

I am from easy listening and beach music,
NPR and Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story;
From refrigerator muffins and Chef Boyardee’s Stuffed Raviolis;
From neighborhood games of snipe hunts and midnight hide and seek;
And from riding bikes all over town.

I am from Howdy Doodie and the Electric Company,
From M*A*S*H and Mork and Mindy;
I am from milk and Pepsi, rainbow suspenders and hiding from Sleestaks and Tyrannosaurus Rex;
And I am from all manifestations of William Shatner -
Star Trek, TJ Hooker and Rescue 911.

I am from the raspberries in Grandma’s garden,
Sweet firm cherries from the roadside stands,
And from frosted cakes with jellybean eggs and coconut dyed to look like Easter Basket grass.

I am from telling the same family stories over and over,
From “Do you remember the time when your brother pissed off your sister and she cut off his hair?”
And “Mom, that’s my story and you’re telling it wrong!”
And from “If your sister tells The Licorice Story again, I am going to puke.”

From the “Clean up your plate because people are starving in Africa,”
and “Don’t worry, things can be replaced but people can’t.”

I am from grounded in the Bible, saved by grace, liturgical Lutherans
From communion wafers, hymnals and the eternal flame.

I am from good Midwestern stock, Norwegians and Oakes,
From the mother who was willing to pick up Crazy Karen at the train station at four in the morning in another town,
The sister who stole your licorice yet made sure you got your handmade clock from Grandpa,
And from parents willing to drive three hours to pick you up at the air port even though you forgot to write some of the minor details like the arrival time, airline, and city of departure.

I am from pioneers and sea travelers,
A grandma who took off across the West to find a better life,
And another who hopped a train to California to marry the man she loved,
From people leaving for somewhere new, yet always remembering that
Home is always the place where you can always be yourself.


Joie de Vivre ~ A Hearty Joy of Living!

3 comments:

doodah! said...

I love it. Even better than the one from this weekend. You are from some good stuff.

Dot said...

Fabulous! I think I'll try this. I noted the slip when you mentioned your Mom picking up Karen at four in the "mourning". Probably mourning her lack of sleep, no doubt! I'm in awe of your mom's compassion with that woman.
And I agree with doodah--you're from good stuff!

Just Me said...

Dot, you have no idea how much I need an editor. I fixed it, but will leave your comment to keep me humble. And yes, I have a pretty awsome mom!