Saturday, January 26, 2008

Where I'm From

I was reading poems the other day and came across a great one by George Ella Lyon. I’d read this poem before but it seems that every time I read it, I get more out of it and am further inspired. I love that it tells us so much more about the author than simply the location she was born.

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.

I am inspired to tell you where I am from (although not in poetry form)!

I’m from an old metal jungle-gym that was not cemented to the ground. We tumbled it over and over as we played on it.
I’m from long car rides with 4 children sitting across the back seat and “Are we there yet?”
I’m from more car rides, this time in a station wagon…facing backward in the pop-up seats trying my best not to throw-up along the way.
I’m from the dogwood tree in the front yard.
I’m from snow days and ramps at the bottom of the hill so we could sled down the yard, off the ramp, and into the street.
I’m from kickball games that always had to be turned around mid-game so we would not break the neighbor’s light.
I’m from summer nights running around the neighborhood playing tag.
I’m from 15+ kids in the kitchen with my dad…and the oven catching on fire…twice.
I’m from Christmas morning at the neighbor’s house…everyone was there.
I'm from illegal fireworks brought home by the neighbor...a huge cloud of smoke above the cul-de-sac.

I'm from baseball fields and football fields and cheerleading practice.
I'm from the "six-o'clock whistle" - the siren from the firehouse that could be heard throughout the town.

Where are you from?


  1. Wow - just when I thought it was safe to read your blog you go and get all deep on me. I am not sure I am ready to go there just yet. Can I just say ... where I am is not where I am from. The two worlds are so far apart it would be comical if not for the painful parts. So...where I'm from keeps me who I am.

  2. Funny, the things you remember -- I forgot about the fire siren! E

  3. I agree with debbie. I'll have to work on that and get back to you. When is the due date, teach?

  4. I got it! I'm about to post it on


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