Monday, April 05, 2010

Where I'm from

Where I'm From

by Kim Norman

Inspired by George Ella Lyon's poem "Where I'm from"

I am from
Maine mosquitos and Virginia creeper.
From loon and lobster,
kudzu and Karo.
I am from pepper flecked corn chowder
and golden fried okra.
And for dessert,
whether the wait is for
steaming Indian pudding
or freezing pecan praline, home-churned.

I am from
Pink Pearl erasers and Luden's cough drops.
From September books,
stiff-spined and ink scented,
grown floppy soft and pinky smudged by June.
I am from summer sundresses and summer reading lists,
from Pooh Corner and E.B. White,
yellow roads and black stallions.
I am from card catalogs
and nickel fines on golden tickets
too precious to release.

I am from boy pranks
salted slugs writhing on sidewalks,
screaming cicadas tethered on strings,
or a tiny Cuban lizard flashing out of sight,
leaving its twitching tail in my surprised fingers.
I am from chess and Chinese checkers,
from battleships and "Do not pass Go."
I'm from Saturday morning cinnamon toast,
with Stooges and cartoons,
and from Sunday night popcorn
with Mickey and Walt.

I'm from Huntley and from Brinkley,
from Cambodia and Camelot,
from Dodge and Virginia City.
I am from the moon, ("One small step for a man,")
and from space, ("Danger, Will Robinson!")

I'm from diaries and Beta tapes,
records, 8-tracks and cassettes.
I am bound in books, boxes and baby clothes.
I am from these things, in these things,
whether remembered, forgotten or forsaken.
I have outgrown the sundresses but not the sun.
Nor the books...
Even if I give them away,
or pay the fines and return them,
I live on
in the stories.


This my first in a planned trio of poems based on George Ella Lyon's remarkable poem, "Where I'm from." The next two will likely cover young adulthood and motherhood. (Maybe it will become a 4-part series, if I get ambitious in my old age -- not so long from now!) Click HERE to read Ms. Lyon's original poem, which inspired my own.

Oh and, ps -- the above photo is one I took during the winter of 2010 on the new Windsor Castle trail. Okay, I'll admit the "yellow brick" is a little Photoshop trickery!


M.F. Atkins said...

I LOVE it! I write Where I'm From poems with my fourth graders every year and I share my own before they write theirs. Parents love them as keepsakes. Also, I used your awesome 5W writing prompt cards this year. The kids LOVED them and it made a for a fun writing activity. I laminated them so I can use them every year. Thanks for such a great resource!

Kim Bookwriter said...

Oh thanks, Marcie! I'm also glad to hear you're finding a good use for my 5W cards. I've been meaning to create a few more. If I do, I'll let you know so you can add to your stack.

M.F. Atkins said...

Yes! If you create more, let me know. The kids LOOOOVE them.

george Ella Lyon said...

What a wonderful WIF poem! And I love the idea of a trilogy. I'd like to link to this from my website.

Write on!

George Ella Lyon

Kim Bookwriter said...

Oh my goodness, Ms. Lyon, thank you! I would be honored by a link. (I just noticed I had misspelled Karo. All fixed!)

Thank you, too, for being so generous with your art, allowing us all to share in your inspiration.