A barn, a corral and some tool sheds in rural Colorado
The prose poem below resulted from an exercise posted by a blogger on one of my email lists. The "jumping-off" place was a poem by George Ella Lyon. Read her poem here and other bloggers' entries here. My effort is below.
Where I’m From
I’m from unpainted barns and dust-blown fields,
From waterpails with dippers,
From wooden outhouses, and kerosene lanterns.
From branding irons and cattle drives.
I’m from dresses made of printed feedsacks,
From two pair of shoes a year, one for school and one for church.
From Lava Soap and Lifebuoy,
From clothes scrubbed on a washboard
Over the same metal tub used for baths on Saturday night.
I’m from Spam and Saltines, cornbread and beans,
From fresh vegetables in the garden beside the windmill.
I’m from making do, count your blessing and
Where there’s a will there’s a way.
From you ask too many questions and
Just take it on faith,
From always do your best, but
Why can’t you leave well-enough alone?
I’m from schoolhouse dances on Saturday nights,
Dancing schottische, polka, and cotton-eyed Joe,
From The Shadow and The Lone Ranger on radio,
From 4-H, county fairs, carnivals and rodeos.
From spelling bees and memorizing Bible verses
To win yo-yo pencils at school.
I’m from Ruthalee and Demoree, then Bain, then finally
From Scotty, too late to parent me
But just in time to be a grandpa to my children.
I’m from Colorado ranch transplanted to Texas Panhandle city,
To backyard fallout shelters, duck-and-cover and tornado drills,
To sockhops in the school gym, detention for dirty dancing,
Dragging mainstreet and drive-in movies.
I’m from finally asking the questions
That took me away from magical solutions,
Away from racist communities and exclusion
To cultural diversity and celebrating differences
As opportunities rather than threats.
I’m from being a teacher
Which taught me that being interested
Is the key to being interesting.
I’m from love people and use things.
From life-long learning, continuing curiosity and--
Gratitude for where I’m from.
--Deb T, March 2005--