Monday, April 17, 2006

Writing suggestion: "I am from..." [Pat Corrigan read "I am from," by George Ela Lyon and we were asked to let it inspire us to start our piece with "I am from...". Note: Lyon was born and raised in Harlan, KY, just around the corner from the holler on which I raised my children in Pike County, KY. Her poem is worth going to her site to read]

From Understanding

I am from the front porch
where my grandmother used to sit
all day and watch the cars,
trucks and buses headed east on highway 40.
My first words, “See the bus,”
Front Porch language.

Grandma and I porch sat on cool evenings
that followed warm, St. Louis summer days
together, speaking the same language.
First her “see the bus?”
Then my “see the bus?”
We understood one another, grandma and I.
When she missed a bus
because she was staring into the small
round mirror in her hand
pinching the chin hairs out,
I would tell her, “see the bus?”
And she’d look up in reply, “see the bus?”

I learned a new language
when I left the front porch.
They taught me about arithmetic,
spelling, and diagramming sentences.
“See the bus” had one line across,
one diagonaly under bus,
and “you” was understood.

I understand more now
about traveling highways
and the value of time spent on the front porch.
I teach the language to my grandson,
out the window we look,
sitting together in an old rocking
chair that squeaks.
He likes trucks best
and I understand.
“Truck!” he exclaims. “Truck,” I echo.
And we wait, still, for another one.

He will go to school and learn another language.
Will I understand?
When he leaves the window and the rocking chair
and waves to me from the car

I’ll sit and wait, like grandma did,
counting the chin hairs as they grow back in.

This writing suggestion was a good one. I encourage you to try your own hand at it. Everyone in the group produced something worth saving. You don't have to make it a poem. Some writers wrote in prose style. Go ahead, look inside yourself and ask, "Where AM i from?" Send me your personal geography and permission to post it here, if you'd like.

Click on COMMENTS below to see where others are from.

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