Sunday, October 3, 2010

THE GRANDMOTHER SONG

Florence Fitzsimmons, one of the first women in her area who rode for pleasure -
she rode well into her sixties. Note the wagon to the right. No cars then!
February 14, 1998


I wear my grandmother's ring
for medicine.
Rubbing my fingers over it,
I feel my connection
to her
and to the long line of old, wise women
who came before her,
who walked the grandmother path
before she
who walked here
before me.
One of them was a healer;
one of them spoke with ghosts.
In my past are Celtic crones
and warrior women,
mystics and dream weavers.
In my past, women galloped
on horseback
across the plains,
gave birth in tents, in covered wagons
and in captivity.
A medicine woman
is back there,
and an Untouchable,
a witch and a nun.
In my past are bent, exhausted
and determined women,
digging in the unyielding earth
trying to feed their children
during the potato famine.
Once in vision
row upon row of silent,
dead-eyed women
wrapped in blankets,
I saw, weaving their way
through the frozen blackness
of a winter morning
in the Gulag
and, with a chill, I knew them,
and knew I had been there.
Somewhere back there
there was a woman of vision
and a fool.
Somewhere back there,
wise women sat around a fire
in Council,
speaking truth and governing.
Somewhere back there,
women were
burned at the stake.
Some raised swords
and led armies on horseback.
Some were shackled together
in a ship's hold
to be sold as slaves.
Some lived in castles
and some in caves.
Somewhere back there,
once women's spirits flew;
somewhere back there
our souls were
kept in bondage.
Somewhere back there
our feet were cruelly bound.
Somewhere back there
we threw off
all the bindings
and stood tall.
And now I am watching
my grandmother's face
emerging before me daily
in the mirror.
My grandmother's eyes
are looking out of my face.
They know me.
Somewhere from within
my grandmother has told me
to put on the ring:
for now I am worthy.
I, the baby grandmother,
just coming into my power.
No longer a granddaughter,
now an elfin granddaughter
walks beside me, looking up,
and the vast peaceful knowing
that lived in my grandmother's heart
has come to reside within me.
I wear my grandmother's ring
for love, for memory,
for connection
to the line of strong women
who came here before me
and for the line of strong women
who will walk here behind me,
for the passage of time
that is timeless,
for the circle of love
that is endless,
for the circle of life
that keeps turning and turning:
one grandmother out,
one granddaughter in,
footsteps walking in footsteps,
heart upon heart,
all the way Home.

14 comments:

  1. What a lovely poem and what an interesting lot of fine women in your background. I don't see my Grandmother in my mirror but my mother looks back at me daily!

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  2. So cool, to see our heritage in the mirror! Other than my own grandmother, the other women in this poem are imagined. The Irish roots are there, but the others are imagined in the way all of us have everyone in our backgrounds, over centuries....

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  3. Such strong women you are indeed!
    This poem deserves a wider audiance...it is truly amazing, and inspirational....the relationship and influece a grandmother has is profound. I love this Sherry! :-)

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  4. What beautiful reflective writing, Sherry! The relationship between grandmother and granddaughter can be so close and special.

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  5. And the circle of life continues with love and "ring" of bravery and hope...

    A nice tale of strong women....

    Happy sunday ~

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  6. Brava! (((clap, clap))) Gorgeous and touching.

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  7. A beautiful commentary on the history of the women in your family and women's history in general. Not an easy road.

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  8. This is lovely, Sherry. I love reading about all those connections and changes along the way.

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  9. WoW! Sherry, you blew me away with this one!
    I come from a long line of strong women...they are the dominant gene in my family.

    I loved the ending & the image too.

    Awesome!

    Remove These Satin Sheets...

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  10. What an interesting story and the poem makes me think of all the old wise women that came before me. Great job!

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  11. Sherry, this is remarkable! A long and proud line of women! I was close to my grandmother, very much like her. She had guts all the way till the end. I indeed wear her ring.

    Loved how this poem flowed, took my hand and led me on a journey.

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  12. What a beautiful ending:
    "footsteps walking in footsteps,
    heart upon heart,
    all the way Home."

    This is a great tribute to the women that went before you.

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  13. this is obviously done with so much love and respect for the women in your family. thanks for sharing! :)

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  14. Women are the strength of the family, and grandmothers are now often the heads of households with three generations living under one roof. They hand their knowledge down and stand as absolute proof that love is undying.

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I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!