I Am From…

5cc4ec95a352e69045e8d62a4de19e62SheLoves Magazine is hosting a link up in honour of South Africa’s Heritage Day. We’re telling our stories, or parts of them at least, in the form of “I Am From” based on the poem by George Ella Lyon.

You can read some great stories on SheLoves or download the template and tell your own.

(Download the PDF here.)

I Am From…

I am from a whistling kettle,
from the lake
and piano music creeping up the stairs.

I am from the house on the farm
with the cupboard that smells like apples.

I am from pots of African violets growing in thin winter sun
and the banana tree in the backyard whose long gone limbs
I remember as if they were my own.
(I don’t really remember the tree; just the stories.)

I’m from singing “Happy Birthday” to the answering machine
and wild imagination;
from faraway grandparents and
brothers too close for comfort across the back seat of a small car.
(Now they are much too far away.)

I’m from quick to help and interrupting
and from church, twice, every Sunday.
I’m from “is it perfect?” and “jaldi, jaldi
and from the “slithy toves
that gyre and gimble in the wabe”. 

I’m from making up nonsense words
and adding them to our lexicon forever.

I’m from Chester and England,
lamb with vinegary mint sauce and Christmas cake
made a year in advance.

From the day we went to get Mark
from school and he was gone.
I was the girl with hair so white blond
the Africans thought I was a spirit child.
(I couldn’t protect him; but miraculously someone else did.)

From the gallery of family photos
gathered on the kitchen wall, and Nanny’s embroidery,
and Grandpa’s paintings.
From the empty spots
from the stories we were too far away to hear,
and the hand-knit nativity that
always travelled with us.

I am from the ocean,
and from laughter,
from forgiveness that comes with wisdom
and from choosing to be
a little closer now, no matter what the map says.

I am from homemade bread,
and home grown puns,
from cats in warm laps
and crossworld puzzles and books
and SHH, guys,I’m trying to watch this!

I am from finally having sisters,
and finally talking about make-up with my Mom
and finally finding a way to disagree without yelling.

I am from a good place
that happened in a lot of places
and from making this place,
right now
my very own.

(Image credit: Fresh Words Market

6 Comments on I Am From…

  1. Caris Adel
    September 25, 2013 at 4:47 am (4 years ago)

    ohhhh I like this.

    “I’m from making up nonsense words
    and adding them forever to our lexicon.” – what a good thing to be from :)

  2. Shauna
    September 25, 2013 at 4:49 pm (4 years ago)

    Beautiful as always my long time still present friend.

  3. Jody
    September 25, 2013 at 9:40 pm (4 years ago)


  4. Tia
    September 25, 2013 at 10:03 pm (4 years ago)

    Claire, my little heart is swelling with nostalgia for things you make me wish I remembered. This is so beautiful!

  5. Idelette
    September 25, 2013 at 11:57 pm (4 years ago)

    This is so beautiful, Claire.

    “… from choosing to be a little closet now, no matter what the map says.” This had me just about in a full-blown sob.

    So many powerful images. All of this. YES!

  6. Idelette
    September 25, 2013 at 11:59 pm (4 years ago)

    Oops. Make that “closer.” I’m on my phone, while the kids are in swimming lessons. Does not make for good spelling.


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