Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Am From...

I wrote this poem for my Teaching Writing class.  We used a mentor text, which means the class reads an example of text and then the teacher invites the students to emulate it.  The original poem is by George Ella Lyon and it's called "Where I'm From". You can read the poem here: .
I suggest giving this a shot.  I would suggest it to anyone, whether you consider yourself a poet or not.  I certainly don't consider myself a poet, but writing this was more than a task for me.  It was an experience and a process of discovery.  It may not be ground breaking to anyone else, but it was magic for me.

Three Worlds

I’m from barefeet and broken driveways,
Soft stray cats and the wonder of climbing trees,
Nearby beaches and vineyards, orchards and cornfields.
Sand in my toes, sun in the sky,
Row after row of rich, juicy crops.
Pink and orange sunsets over grey reflective waters,
Playing taps
Then home for warm beds and stories.

I am from a world away.
A U.S. Plane ride away
and a swerving Mexican bus ride away.
High in the mountains
Beyond the tourist village.
The world of Don Kenuto and Elaine with her magic microscope.
Of Manuel y Tsumina
Making beans and torts
And a dear but foreign language.
From stories of chickens living in the laundry room
Futbol sounding in the streets
Refugees gathering in the garden.
A life of plenty in a tin shack,
A future of freedom from memories of machete scars.

I am from children’s books and teacher’s games,
Sitting in their laps to explore and create
Dinosaurs, the alphabet, drawings on the fridge
Then together to the Flap Jack Shack
I’m from circles on sticky placemats with Grandma’s extra pens.
Half grapefruits and toast for the kids.
From “Danger Wolf” and “Sleeps-with-blankie”
“Take it outside” or “Not in the house”
From Kiddie pools and fresh cut grass,
Crunchy potato chips and cold cut sandwiches
From engineers and school teachers.

I am from the country, the suburbs and another country.
Worlds apart, running together.
Worlds with labels, and yet mixed within me,
One in my family.
Grafted together.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Poignant. Evocative. I had no idea you remembered so well...and my memories had faded more than I knew. Thanks for reviving them.