‘Where I’m From’

This theme about composing a poem based on where you are from and grew up has generated some wonderful writing.
This is the original, on which to base your own attempt.

Where I’m From
George Ella Lyon

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments–
snapped before I budded —
leaf-fall from the family tree

American blogger, Maggie, has just published her own story as a poem.

I have no skill at poetry, but gave it a go anyway. If you want to try too, then send me a link to your poem in the comments, or just include it there.

Where I’m From.
Pete Johnson.

I am from hot pavements on a city’s summer streets
and frozen pipes in the winter

I am from flying ants emerging through cracks in the slabs
and the rainstorms that followed their departure

I am from the faces of men drinking beer to forget the war they had just fought
and the women with hands red from washing and scrubbing

I am from an outside toilet with newspaper squares on a nail
and the scary fat spiders that lived in the corners

I am from men being men
and women holding families together

I am from eating leftovers during the week
and learning how to make do

I am from limited expectations
and knowing your place

I am from respecting your elders
and doing that without having to be told

I am from where family came first
and nobody ever questioned why that was

I am from places that are still the same
and a time when they were very different

55 thoughts on “‘Where I’m From’

  1. Great answer of you, Pete! But dont forget: You are “Made in England”. :-))
    May i add some advertising for a good friends book? Ritu will publish on next Sunday, it would be nice if someone could give her cover a “like” to. You will find all information at her blog: butismileanyway.com. Her book with the title “Marriage Unarranged” is about her own life, and as we all know, normally in other cultures marriages are arranged by parents. Thank you Pete! Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Where I’m From In Retirement

    I am from treasured quilts,
    from matzoh ball soup and hot chocolate.
    I am from planters filled with asparagus ferns, day lilies, and lavender.
    Where my green thumb flourished once my house became my own.

    I am from lovely queen palms, agapanthus blooms in purple and white,
    the majestic jacaranda trees towering over the yard, once only five feet tall,
    whose purple flowers blanket the yard in happiness.
    I’m from remote controls, cell phones, and sewing machines,
    from visiting family and wonderful grandkids.

    I’m from where are my keys?
    and have you seen my phone?,
    from where is my purse? and
    why did I come in this room?

    I am from grounding myself, gratitude lists,                                                                              and conversations with G-d.
    I’m from Annie, the ruling queen of the castle,
    alkaline water and prescription meds.
    From the menorahs which bring me joy,
    to the overwhelming collection of salt and pepper shakers,
    and the bowling ball garden.

    My bookcases hold what makes me, me.
    Treasured novels with secrets yet to be learned,                                                            
    scrapbooks with details of a life well lived
    to remind me of all I have to be grateful for,
    pictures that capture my heritage and loved ones,                                                                  and tchotchkes meaningless to anyone but me.

    I am from a home filled with memories
    that tell a story of my soul.                                                                                                                As I change and evolve,                                                                                                                      my metamorphosis welcomes the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much for including your own poem in the comments, Lauren.
      I can relate to much of the ‘in retirement’ aspect, especially ‘why did I come into this room?’
      (I did that only three hours ago…)
      Your religion is hinted at, but not the main part of your memories.
      I ‘got it’ all, and that’s the point of all this.
      Well done indeed.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You can write poetry, despite what you tell yourself. This one captures so many instances that I could easily picture. I can see those men and women. I can also identify with limited expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done, Pete. Don’t put yourself down – you could save your life with that poem. I haven’t read Maggie’s yet but will do so now. It’s a great idea and I might have a wee play with it – and will certainly introduce it to my writing group.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for the link back to my poem, Pete. I just responded to your comment to see you have already written your version.

    Even though we grew up oceans apart, there are many similarities. I, too, had an outside toilet for a time although we were more likely to see snakes than spiders.

    I am really happy to see you took this on. It provides a window into your origins – the places where we are similar yet so much alike.

    Liked by 2 people

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