Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Where I'm From

My daughter brought home her first writing assignment from school today - building a poem from prompts built on a poem by George Ella Lyon called, Where I'm From. It draws on childhood experience, favourite foods, things your family said all the time, common things around your home, plants, pets, and more. It's memory and identity. Because it's writing, I couldn't resist. I had to try my hand at the exercise. It's poetry, but not my usual style.

And yet, it speaks so much of where I'm from:

I am from piles of books –
stacked from floor to hip to ceiling, spilling off shelves;
creating literary architecture of their own.
From a rainbow swirl of pen and ink,
and the quilt patterned patches of notebooks –
blank, lines, and quad-squared pages.

I am from crumbling driveways,
walls that pulse and dance with color
(a different one in every room)
and echoes of jazz and quiet cellos in intimate corners.
I am from soft cats warming themselves in the sun;
a stunted dogwood of southern memory;
and a lilac bush with competitive growth spurts.

I am from quiet times in sacred spaces,
tea poured hot, and an endless pattern of  blue and white.
From gentle elegance and fierce determination,
patience anchored in rock firm safety,
and joy bursting with imagination and wildness.

I’m from tooth-grinding stubbornness,
undaunted loyalty,
and a rich vein of creativity shot through with iron and gold.

I’m from trust in the Lord with all your heart,
Do your very best, and
noblesse oblige.

I’m from ham for Christmas and lamb at Easter.
I’m from the Gathering Place in the islands,
fields of rice paddies,
and hills sheltering castles at Cardiff.

I’m from baked chow mein and stir fry,
from journey across oceans,
and the soft palm of a hand.
From teacups and journals,
old woks and more books,
walls covered over and again in memory,
painted art from hands I know,
and more books.
Because books are at the heart of all we love.

I am sifted like sand and flour,
elementally twined, rooted, blossomed, and risen
from earth, and bread, and binding
of the ones I love.

I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!

I'm joining Simply Beth for her Three Word Wednesday link up. For this link up, choose three words; share a post, photo, or scripture that highlights those three words; link up here; and share some encouragement and blog love with other writers.


  1. Rebekah, THIS is such beauty! I'm so glad you joined your daughter in her homework! You used such vivid imagery and your rhythm slowed and quickened perfectly. I loved this! Thanks for sharing your writing gift each week. I'm always touched by it.

    1. Thank you Karen - I'm so happy to see you again here! Poetry is my favorite and first love when it comes to writing.

  2. This is all kinds of wonderful here my friend! I love this... and I love that you took the prompt from FaithGirls' homework! How fun!

    1. I need to do that more often with her! Remind me to share her's with you.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you - remind me to show you Faith's when she brings hers home again :)

  4. This is absolutely beautiful. The way you weave words, LOVE!

  5. Love this! I am teaching a blogging/creative writing/photography class to high schoolers and I just shared something similar with them that my friend Amy wrote- we did this exercise for a writing prompt.

  6. Oh my Goodness, girl... you nailed this! I love this so much and mostly because this is exactly where you are from and I can see it! Love this... and you, my friend!

  7. SheLoves mag did this prompt last year and to date it is one of my top fave things I have ever written and I think it's best because it's approachable for everyone. Love this


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