Where I’m From – I said it so many times but what does it really mean?
I recently listened to a Genealogy Gems podcast episode number 185. To my delight, I discovered that Lisa shared my blog! Thank you, Lisa! I was also introduced to George Ella Lyon poetry. The poem “Where I’m From” featured there made me really think.
Lisa proposed a challenge for readers to write their version of the poem. It sounded more like a dare to me, but I thought to myself “nahhhh there is not a drop of poetry in me”. BUT… To my surprise, I discovered that a part of my mind was constantly thinking about the poem during long hours of driving I do every day. So I let it flow and was really shocked to notice that it just appeared from nowhere! It might not be perfect or even good, but it is mine. The other surprise was to learn that I remember sounds, tastes, smells and feelings. I guess the Magdalene cake scene from Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time makes a lot more sense to me now!
My version needs a few pictures and a bit of background for non-Polish readers on customs surrounding All Saints Day (1st of November). The whole country goes to visit family graves; on a scale, I did not see in any other place on the Earth. In the evening, any graveyard can be seen from far away as it is covered up by thousands of candles. There are processions and masses said among the graves. Every family gives their list of passed family members’ names to be read out during celebrations. You can see a small clip of what it is like here. I am going to write a separate post about this soon as this is one of the intriguing aspects of my family history.
There is my own version of “Where I’m From”
I came from the gentle touch of a spring wind bringing the smell of lilac
I came from sweaty dust of country roads scorched by a summer sun
I came from autumn leaves slowly falling from a forever old walnut tree outside my window, and from a white icy hill never conquered by a car in the winter
I came from a bowl of warm, frothed up milk freshly squeezed from a cow and shared with cats on a golden straw of stables floor
I came from wooden walls of a church that seen it all
I came from a sound of Ave Maria sang every noon by my granny and from the smokey smell of my grandad’s green body warmer
From flowers never growing in tidy rows and orchards full of sour cherries and sweet apples
From the unmissable sound of tractors, laughter and shouts of never stopping farmers
From the taste of grain coffee on a hot day and sweet black lemon tea when my eyelashes were all frozen shut.
A small girl in a sea of flames on a crisp November evening lighting a candle
Just another name on a long list called by a priest gone, rediscovered, never forgotten
Floating through her veins a sense of belonging
Anybody else wants to share? I dare you:)