Thursday, September 9, 2010

Where, Oh, Where?

     My writing today is based on the poem "Where I'm From" by George Ella Lyon, a poem used frequently as a model for teaching poetry with both adults and adolescents. My students' final draft poems are due tomorrow. The parts of them I have seen so far are absolutely phenomenal, so full of personal insight, such a result of real self-reflection and self-knowledge. I thought it only fair that I "turned mine in" too. I think it fits with the essence of this blog.

Where I'm From

I am Joan Margaret Griffin

I am from two queens, one Greek, one English,
And a Hebrew “Gift from God.”
I am from myths: A lion with head and wings of an eagle,
Who collects and guards golden treasure.

I am from England, Wales, and Germany,
From devote Quakers with black hats and white bonnets,
Early colonists who came on small ships.
I am from New England whaling captains, Southern backwoods hillbillies,
And hard-working Midwest farmers.

I am from SoCal, from “The Valley,”
From an “oops!” mistake, and “We choose you!” at LA County adoption.
I am from skates with keys, tree houses, kickball on Newton Street, forts in the vacant lot,
And “Be home before the streetlights come on!”

I am from swimming pools, with black stripes and starting blocks,
And from hair turned green from chlorine.
From jump-rope and jacks, black-and-white TV and Barbie dolls.

I am from homework done at the dining room table, and books consumed under the covers,
From The Beatles and The Monkees, Gilligan’s Island and Leave It To Beaver.
I am from road trips in the station wagon and 8mm family movies.

I am from lasagna made from scratch, and homemade meatloaf with instant mashed potatoes.
From ice cream cakes, Mom’s famous Lemon Snow Pie,
And Dad’s silver-dollar-sized pancakes, only on Sunday mornings.

I am from Spartans and Bruins, and football games at the Rose Bowl,
From sun, sand, and sailboats, wetsuits, and zinc oxide,
Freckles and sunburn that blisters and peels.

On one side, I am from strong silent adventuring men,
On the other, from wild and worrying women.
I am granddaughter, daughter,
I am Joan Margaret Griffin