Friday, November 23, 2007

Where I'm From

I am from the big green bicycle, from wellington boots, and woolly vests in winter, and long legged bloomers.

From the big brown teddy bear and the stuffed pink dog.

I am from "Nadia" with the long garden, the coal shed and the reading tree;

From cross Mr.Gilburn on one side, and English, odd-as-two-left-shoes Norman on the other;

From Olly Walsh and longers, and boys playing hurling in the street;

From ivy on the wall up to my brother's room, and polished green tiles in the hall. Cosy in winter with books by the fire, watching the shadows leap on the wall.

I'm from lupines and lavender, bluebells and buttercups, fields full of cowslips;

From falling-down castles and tadpoles in jamjars;

From climbing trees in Barry's field, and rawking apples from Roches' orchard;

From exploring blue mountains behind Uncle Willie's, along the lane where the foxgloves still grow.

From tormentor boys chanting "Here comes Frank's dreamboat!" and gorgeous George ignoring my existence.

I am from farming, and horse doctoring, and silver tea trays and relics of ould dacency.

From silent, reserved men with smiling faces, and women with secrets and crosses to bear.

From Annie O'Rourke and Margaret Drake and Walshes and Shepherds.

I am from lonely people who loved and lost, but left us unquenchable optimism.

From "because I said so" and "call him now and apologise".

I am from confession on Saturday, Mass on Sunday, fish on Friday, love thy neighbour, and don't get too big for your britches.

From lonely walks by Shannon's banks.

I'm from Saints and Scholars, poets and musicians, Welshmen and Vikings, Druids and dancers, Cuculainn, Oisin and Tir Na nOg.

From Fryes' cocoa, and brown bread, and beans on toast, and shepherds' pie.

From banana and jam sandwiches at Auntie Ita's, and loving her tiny cottage with the memory-laden mantlepiece.

I'm from Sundays to Granny's in the morris minor, if it didn't break down along the way.

From jumping out first to open the gates along the passage to the farmhouse.

From clip-clopping to the village, warm woollen blankets over our knees, in the horse and trap with my grandmother, and neighbour men lifting their hats and murmuring greetings.

From stories of these people, sparse of words but strong of feeling, carrying their dead on their shoulders, to the top of Ardpatrick, to the highest cemetery in Ireland.

From memories of creeping out to listen to the grownups around the fire at night, talking about the old days and the old ways. And fleeing back to the big high bed if a chair scraped on the stone floor.

From Aunty Bid, and her shopping lists, and tea and marzipan cakes at the Dainty Dairy.

From Uncle Willie shining his shoes, and putting Brylcream in his hair to go courtin' Shelia W, singing The Yellow Rose Of Texas.

From my brother throwing Maria Goretti from his window to a million smashed pieces below.

From Miss McCarthy, in senior infants, telling me crossly to sit down in my place when I tried to tell her about my new baby sister.

I am from a box of old photos in a disused barn;

From piles of scribblings stashed in drawers;

From misty, half-remembered memories of a tall grandfather with a kindly face and a white mustache;

From a quiet, strong grandmother, finder of warm brown eggs under beady-eyed chickens, dispenser of half crowns, wearer of black flowered dresses, black coats and frothy little hats. Iron-fisted, velvet-gloved ruler of the welcoming farm kitchen.

I am from boxes of my own childrens' childhoods, adjusted expectations, new generations; trying to grow old with grace and steeling myself against life's storms.

*Found this at Jess' at Daysgoby. Go read her poetic version! And if you'd like to do it yourself, it's easier than it looks. Jess has a link to a template you can use as a guide.


thailandchani said...

Wow! I love the way this is written!

Jess said...

You amaze me - with your words, your story.

Thanks for doing this!

Tanya Brown said...

Lovely, cozy stuff. Be careful, or you'll have me romanticizing Ireland!

riseoutofme said...

I must be adopted.

molly said...

Rise---I'm six years older--the world was different then. I caught the old days as they ran out the door....

Tracey Petersen said...

I'd like to visit that place.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Molly, you did it! And there's so much about you that we'd like to know from what you've hinted in the poem. Wonderful. Congrats.

meggie said...

Molly, yours is just as wonderful! It is lovely.
It brings memories- though different to yours, but somehow the same.

Thimbleanna said...

Molly, this is awesome! I just loved reading it. Much to think about here -- thanks so much for posting the link!

Birdydownunder said...

great reading, had to do it, did need a lot of thought tho.

Pam said...

Lovely, though I do think you must be MUCH older than me... (Who am I kidding?)

This could be a way of getting students to do reflective essays... though mind you, some of our students are probably from things I don't really want to know about.

Lily said...

Are you my mother? Our lives are so different.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

This is just lovely! Breathtaking.

Thank you for sharing it, Miss Molly.

Unknown said...

This is beautiful. I love it.

(And wellies! I love wellies!)

Wanderlust Scarlett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wanderlust Scarlett said...

THAT is really wonderful, I enjoyed every single word of it. All the way down.

It was almost tangible, and definitely visible.

Thank you.

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Julie's Journey said...

Thank you for this post. It was beautiful and I will investigate the link too. Sounds wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I found this so inspiring, Molly, and deeply moving. Writing my own took me somewhat by surprise!

Susan Kane said...

"...a high bed...scrape of a chair..." So tangible. I love it, and I will make a post that links back to this.

So wonderful. So glad you found me, and then I found you!