At our Artist’s Way class this week we discussed many things. One of my favorites was this poem by George Ella Lyon:
Where I’m From
I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
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.
George Ella Lyon does, in fact, encourage others to take this poem and make it their own as a way to explore your own roots. And we did. This is my result after a little bit of editing. Now, keep in mind that I do not consider myself a poet, but I did enjoy this exercise and would enjoy some criticism–but it is what it is. I’m super pumped about what this exercise can do for an individual, and plan to hopefully incorporate it in my curriculum in the future.
I am From
Ashley M. Carmichael
Inspired by “Where I’m From” by Georgia Ella Lyon
I am from a strong woman
Unless you grow and learn from it.
I am from London Broil and peas
Swallowing them whole
Mac & Cheese from the blue box—never Kraft
Unless a bonus check was on the way.
I am from reading before bedtime and flashlights beneath the covers
Using the hall light for just one more chapter
Don’t close the door—she won’t know
She pretends and we think we’re clever.
I am from the land of middle children, misfits, and quirky unlovables
Trying so hard to please an easily pleasable family.
I am from laughter and overused air-freshener
Attempting to cover the stench of debt and middle class
Lemon scent—no, spring rain.
I am from the southern kitchen smells of dirt cake, lemon chicken, pot pies and Moravian cookies
Keeping a heritage of hospitality alive.
Love feasts—hide the poinsettias.
I am from expression without fear, a laugh that echoes off the hanging rocks of Stokes County
Calling you home when you feel lost.