I Am From

By Jennifer @ Diary of 1

I am from dusty country roads,
From Vick’s Vapor Rub
And handmade clothes.
I am from the dirt floors of a house built from corrugated iron and boards,
With unshaded lightbulbs dangling from cords.
I am from the mint patch, Arizona honeysuckle, and big blue sky,
The black walnut grove, blooming yucca, and tumbleweeds piled high.

I am from clothes on the line and Kick the Can,
From Andy and Nelda,
The Appalachian and the artisan.
I am from Heather and Nancy and Becky,
From pride and poverty and poetry.
I’m from you’ll catch a cold and don’t hold open the refrigerator door,
Revival meetings, The Old Rugged Cross, and stories of the saints of yore.

I am from Tucson and Scots-Irish and English blood,
From clans and crests
And ‘Touch not the cat but a glove.’
I’m from fresh peaches and blackberries picked by my hand,
Fried okra and black coffee cooked in a pan.
I’m from Great Uncle Fran who could stand on his head,
And Great Granddad who carved the presidents now dead.
I’m from the hillbilly, Confederate, Merchant Marine,
The carpenter, the teacher, and ghosts that are seen.

I am from Mama’s stitched up album,
Careful labels on each photo
Tell where I’m from.
Old black and whites with yellowed corner tape
Reveal my mother with an eye for landscape.
I am from the snapshot of a small girl by the mailbox and mesquite,
A lovely memory from a lonely street.
I am from books and words and walks,
From designs in the clouds and the circling of hawks.
Where are you from?

I wrote this poem in response to the meme over at Chrysalis. Tonight is the last night to enter her contest, but I hope you’ll write your own and share it with me. The template for this poem is here, and the original poem of this style by George Ella Lyon is here.

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16 Responses to I Am From

  1. Jaime Kubik says:

    Loved your I AM FROM poem. I too joined in the contest. Good luck to all!

  2. e-Mom says:

    Beautiful Jennifer. I really loved your poem.

    Did I miss your contest entry? If so, I apologize. I will include a link on the template page, so others can visit and enjoy.


  3. Lovely poem. I actually used to do this exercise with my creative writing classes until I had a mom who said that she didn’t want her son to do this because she felt like it indicated that we were “from” somewhere before we were born, as in reincarnated. All I could really say was, “Um, huh?”

  4. You got me at the very beginning with dusty country roads and Vick’s Vapor Rub. Thanks for bringing back the memories.

  5. Jen says:

    Thank you, dear friends, for your encouraging words. Sarah, yeah, it’s a stretch for something to think this poem has anything to do with reincarnation!

    So, will those of you who haven’t written your poem yet please let me know when you have? I love these. And you don’t have to rhyme, I just felt like it. My original poem didn’t rhyme, and I wrote a second one that did. :-)

  6. Jen says:

    Tami, ah, the Vick’s Vapor Rub. Slathered all over my pint-sized chest, with a rag wrapped around it, every time I felt the slightest sick. My sweet, crazy mother. I’m waiting for my sisters to weigh in on this one – do you remember this, sisters?

  7. Renae says:

    Such beautiful ideas, Jen! I remember Vicks Vapor Rub, too. I think it was passed down from my grandmother. I hated that stuff.

  8. amydeanne says:

    oh I do love it! lol and like the tohers said about the vapor rub, except it was my grandpa! lol he smelled of that stuff all the time! lol.

  9. crickl says:

    Wonderful words and feelings there. I enjoyed it very much. What part of Phoenix were you from? I grew up in Glendale, went to Alhambra High ’79.

  10. Fencepost says:

    I love this poem. I first seen it on Tipper’s blog and several others after. It seems to pop up all over. I just wish I had time to sit and write one of my own.*sigh*

  11. Love the poem! Just a note, you win the book by Dr. Jeremiah. I’ll send it to your hubby’s office unless you send me a mail with another address. Also, I’ll include the Odyssey CDs. Better late than never right?

  12. Tipper says:

    Loved the poem-so very moving. Seems no matter who writes it-it is moving. Yours made me teary eyed.

  13. Jen says:

    crickl, I was from Tucson, not Phoenix…then moved down to Cochise County in the SE corner of Arizona when I was about four, and lived there until I was around 12. Then off to snowy Michigan! And finally Oregon.

    Thank you all for your comments, I appreciate every one of them.

  14. Nancy Robinett says:

    great poem!

  15. Jen says:

    Nancy, I hope you write your own and send it on, Mom would absolutely love to read it.

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