My Sister-in-law came across the “Where I’m From” poem by George Ella Lyon. I taught this poem at the beginning of most semesters and had my students write their own. I always loved the results. I’ve written many ‘a version myself. This is far from my favorite, but the best I have to offer today. Perhaps I’ll revisit it when I’m feeling more inspired. We’re visiting my Mama and step daddy this weekend, so maybe that’ll help. I’ve never written one with their land in mind.
Anyway, here’s my shot at it today. If you don’t mind, I’d love to hear yours…
I am from live oaks, from fiddler crabs, from “makes your eyes light up and your tummy say how-deeeeee!”
I am from front porch swings and hammocks out back. From “Knee deep in June” and the sweet scent of honeysuckle crafting my dreams.
I am from elephant ears, crab grass, hydrangea bushes and “morning glory!” morning glory.
I am from raw sugar cane and a sway back horse. From women strong and sure and decidedly right, even when they’re wrong. From Peggy-lou, Dot short for Dorothy and Erma Jean.
I am from silent passions and stifling furies, lullabies that end “there ‘aint no good in men!”
From “say ma’am and sir!”and “reasons aren’t excuses!”
I am from “He walks with me” unless’n you’re a fornicator. From reckoning the duty of works with the freedom of grace. What’s long been told with what we discovered together, thank you mama.
I’m from the sweltering south ‘far back as we can remember, frogmore stew and blueberry yum, yum.
From a daddy who swam with sting rays and once passed out drunk across the arms of a statue in town square to a daddy who proved the lullabies wrong once and for all: faithful and present and true.
I am from shoe boxes full of photographs. From hugs n’ kisses and never say goodbye without an I. Love. You. From broken bones and broken hearts to a chance at making mistakes while loving well, ’cause girl, that’s what you’ve always known.