Sunday, September 20, 2009

We all come from somewhere


I am from leaping
into piles of papery leaves
with no concern
for what might lurk.
I am from wandering
in thickety-woods
with salt in my hand
and cider on my tongue--wary of neighborhood ghosts.
I am from icicles
long as swords
and miniature worlds
reflected.
I am from licking thick
maple syrup drizzled
on powdery-pure
fresh snow.
I am from reading
about lost ponies
and making a fence
for a plastic herd.
I am from solemn pledges,
earning badges.
eating s'mores
by campfire.
I am from catching
pink salamanders alone at the creek
and chasing fireflies, who might be fairies,
on summer nights.
I am from skunk weed,
pond water, hanging barns,
rotting porches and
cardinals bright as blood.
I am from girls who
leave others behind
and boys who whisper
forbidden truths.
I am from helping
measure gunpowder into
paper rolls in the secret
stillness of his basement.
I am emerging from innocence but I don't know it yet.
This is a writing prompt used as an exercise, which began with a poem, "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon. I got the idea of trying this from author Marilyn Donahue whose new blog, Lines in Time, is full of tips for richer writing.
I chose to recall a two-year-period of my childhood spent in rural Ohio. You can pick anything, any place and mine it.

12 comments:

Dave said...

I enjoyed that.

I'm in a teachers group where this was an introductory activity, and I've considered using it in class.

It's remarkable to see how many things from your world seem to cross over into mine.

Sarah said...

I love this!

Robyn Campbell said...

Uhhuh! We're twins. That could very well be me. Uhhuh! Sweet reading, Tricia. It made me get all weepy and nostalgic and everything.

I think I'm going to try that during unplug week. Thanks for the great tip. *gonna miss ya!* :)

Suzanne said...

Just amazing! I am not from there... but I want to be!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Dave: I like when worlds collide. :) I think your classes would enjoy it. Especially if you nudge them to think of the best place they'd been and why.

Sarah: Thanks. I'm so glad.

Robyn: More worlds colliding! I think you'll love this prompt, it sort of leads you from path to path.

Suzanne: Thanks. I was there so short a time but it had a big impact.

storyqueen said...

so cool. What an amazing window into Tricia!

Me this weekend:

I am from sentences that
don't make sense
even the third time
you read them.

I am from a beginning
that needs those things
they use in emergency rooms
to get the heart beating
(I should remember the
term, but my brain is mush.)

I am from an ending
that just stops
for no reason.

I am from...
oh yea!
Defibrillator!

I am from a wooden chair
in front of a TV tray
upon which is perched
an over-heating lap-top.

I am from revision.

Shelley

MG Higgins said...

This is beautiful, Tricia. And I love the edge you bring to it with "bright as blood" and "measuring gunpowder." Now there's an intriguing line! Great writing exercise.

Tess said...

You can write, girl. You can write.

Nancy O'Connor said...

Tricia, this is beautiful. You've created lots of wonderful images--icicles long as swords, fireflies who might be fairies--and you've certainly piqued my curiosity with the gunpowder in the stillness of his basement. It's a fun exercise, I agree.

Davin Malasarn said...

This is really beautiful, Tricia. I like the phrase "I am from". It's unexpected, but totally true.

Laura Canon said...

Excellent poem. I'm from some of those things, too and I love the way you distill and revisit them.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Shelley: You've got me laughing so hard I may need the defibrillator! Thanks for sharing revision at its most hilarious.

Melissa: I'm glad you like the edge. We don't get through this world without experiencing that.

Tess: Aw shucks, thanks.

Nancy: Thanks, Nancy. It really is useful, I think, to shake loose some things.

Davin: Using that phrase slightly alters the memories. They are less simple description and more integrated, I think.

Laura: Thanks!