Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Where I Come From

364 Christleton

I come from apple orchards and and sweet-scented blossoms, from sweet pea and lilac, a canvas hammock slung under a weeping willow, wet bathing suits hung on the line, that dont have time to dry out before the next swim. I come from lake-scent and marsh grasses, the smell of summer mornings taking me back fifty years to a little cottage on Christleton Avenue. I come from brown hills covered with wild yellow daisies, the smell of sage, songs about tumbling tumbleweed. I come from weeping willow and poplar, and the gentle lapping of baby waves against the shore, from bullrushes and horsetail, that I tried to pick apart when I was not as tall as the green stalks. I come from bike rides past old country farms, as evening falls,  the meadowlark singing its melodic song from the pasture.




I come from a cackling grandma and a twinkling grandpa, shiny dimes tucked into a tiny white envelope, to buy a popsicle and some dubble bubble. I come from a small sleepy orchard town surrounded by mountains, the Big Blue Hills of my childhood, and a lake down the street where the best day was finding a log to bounce up and down  on, when the waves began to dance. 

I come from family visits where the stove never grew cold, pancakes the size of skillets, with brown sugar on top, and strawberry shortcake served to the menfolk in serving bowls, with cackles and great hoots of laughter, Grandpa thumping the salt and pepper shakers, which were never in the right place. 


The Marrs ~ My mother in the middle, back row
Uncle Don, who just passed, on the left, back row


I come from a line of strong women and gallant, devoted men, all the beautiful aunts and uncles with the trademark round Marr eyes, so impossibly glamorous to we freckled awkward children, as the ice tinkled in the glasses, and the stories and laughter filled the happy hours. I come from a little house on Christleton Avenue, that spawned generations of cacklers, and launched us all like little bouncing ships, that came and went from its shores, through the busy years, until, one by one, they came no more.

I come from dates in two-tone '55 Chevys, with guys with slicked back duck tails, who showed up smelling of talcum powder and leather upholstery. We would troll up one side of Bernard Avenue, through City Park, and down the other side, seeing and being seen, then do it all again. 

I come from rose-scent and whisperings on soft summer evenings, in a small town full of rose and lilac dreams, from  all the sad songs of broken promises and heartbreak, whose words would become a prophecy: Blue Velvet, Mr Lonely,  Cryin' Over You, a love of dancing in a girl who rarely got to dance once she was grown, a lover of song who slowly, over the years, forgot to sing.

When I go back to that town, I visit all the beautiful loved ones in the cemetery on the hill., where this week we will lay one more gently down, to join his parents and siblings in Heaven.

I took my flock of ducklings back to this town to nest when they and the world were young and, when the fledglings had flown, I gathered the wind under my wings and made a prodigious leap across the desert, over the mountains, to the edge of the western sea, where the waves had long  been calling me. 




And now I come from ocean roar and pounding waves, galloping into shore like white-maned horses, from sea and sky and scudding clouds, cry of the gull, wing of the eagle, small darting sandpipers, long-legged heron, long sandy beaches stretching to forever, and always and forever, forever and always, the song of the sea, waves advancing and retreating on the shores of my heart.




I am old-growth forest and morning fog, and the moo of the foghorn at Lennard Light, sunrises and sunsets, and the long lope of wolves along the shore as the dusk purples the sand and we take one last lingering look, then turn towards home.



                                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

for Mary's wonderful prompt at dVerse: to write a poem full of color and sense memory about Where I Come From, the things that shaped me. Interesting, given I returned to my hometown this weekend. Friday night, .there I was , with family, in my home town, in a springtime full of blossoms, listening to the songs of my youth. Wow. My uncle who just passed away , was the last living sibling of my mother. Thankfully his wife, our aunt, is still with us. The original Marr family is now reunited in heaven. 


35 comments:

  1. Sherry, I enjoyed reading 'where you come from.' Rich with detail and lots of 'cackles' so befitting a poem written by you. Smiles. And, ah, I remember those ducktails... So sad to recollect the many broken promises and sad songs & to know that so many are now in the cemetery on the hill. But oh how beautiful is the pounding of the sea, Sherry. And the cry of the gull. And, of course, the cackles.

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  2. i love how you found your way to the sea finally... quite a journey here... love how you weave in smell as well... that of wet bathing suits for example... i could smell them... sparked some childhood memories as well

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  3. Sherry, this is simply marvelous.. I love your deep story of family, those connection with nature and the climax in your move to the sea.. what a moment to write it as you had to say goodbye to yet one more from that old generation. It sounds like the gave you a marvelous childhood...

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  4. Ten strong lovely nostalgic stanzas; my favorite was #9, as the west coast of the big island came to life, capturing me with /pounding waves galloping into shore like/white-maned horses/; great lines over all. I owned one of those two-toned '55 Chevs, & shared so much of what you have sweetly recalled in this epic work.

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  5. Oh how the stanzas about visiting the loved ones in the cemetery and about the ducklings made tears come to my eyes. Such a deep love and respect for family and nature, for change - this is a jewel I will definitely put into my poetry jewel box to keep.

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  6. Your spirit is all over this poem, Sherry, and it touches my heart so deeply. You speak so beautifully of the cycle of life and I love this line the best: "that spawned generations of cacklers, and launched us all like little bouncing ships, that came and went from its shores, through the busy years, until, one by one, they came no more." Wow. Breath-taking. Wishing you comfort this week as you lay your uncle to rest.

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  7. I can see you liked the prompt, Sherry! I think you did well in mixing the old and the new, all of which make who you are today.

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  8. The photos really were a nice touch. Very beautiful!

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  9. Sometimes it is difficult to return to ones beginnings. Your poem reminds us that it is a journey that can be a delightful experience. This piece is a detailed sketch of the small (and large) things that went into the making of Sherry. Love it,

    Elizabeth

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  10. Dear- this is one of the greatest blog posts - or any writing - I have ever read. Wonderful tribute!



    ALOHA from Honolulu,
    ComfortSpiral
    =^..^=

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  11. Hi Sherry,

    I enjoyed reading about the fibers of your being. This line really jumped out at me in fact that whole stanza just had the wow factor.

    And now I come from ocean roar and pounding waves,

    We need to catch up soon :)

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  12. Ah.. this reminds me of my Grandmother on the river making egg sandwiches.. while too poor to buy french fries at Burger King.. and yes.. i miss that woman more than the fries now.. as the loving touch of eggs.. beats the freedom of buying fries for now..:)

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  13. "Where the stove never grew cold/Pancakes the size of skillets," YES! So much about family here, and that's as it should be when you are able to look back and smile at the word "family"!! Love, Amy

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  14. A fabulous piece, Sherry, and I like how the past flowed forward into who you are today!

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  15. Wonderful-I think this should be a book! :D
    I love learning more about you and your kin~
    This is beautiful~ I am so sorry, about the loss of your uncle-I bet he was memorable and kindhearted like you~

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  16. This is so beautiful and evocative, Sherry, it brought a lump to my throat. Growing up in "small town '50's" in this country - Gawd ... I miss it so. And the family thing: reunions at Grandma and Grandpa's house when the clan would come together (many all the way from southern Ontario ... hundreds and hundreds of miles away). Mom, and Auntie Rene and Grandma would cook and bake for days in advance. All of them gone now ... some of the cousins, too ... sigh. Wonderful writing and pics.

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  17. What a blessing to have a family where there is lots of love and laughter! Sounds like when I go to family get-to-gethers.

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  18. Lovely! Gave some personal insights on your life and family :) Some great times you have captured here.
    ~Prajakta

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  19. I'll add this on to my Best of Sherry list. You've exceeded yourself! It, you, are beautiful.

    My Dear One, you come from the heart.

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  20. You've taken us on a wonderful journey - a glorious recreation of a large loving family and small town living - and then you jump across the mountains to the ocean... very visual, very appealing.

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  21. A marvellous idyll, so beautifully captured, given to us to enjoy. And enjoy it I did! Thank you.

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  22. such a rich poem! Cool prose style too!

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  23. what's wonderful about this piece of music is that it's melodious throughout, the rise and fall so very touching...the final portion soars high taking our soul with it...so heartfelt Sherry...

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  24. I'm so grateful for this poem. It revealed rich tones and hues that color your life. So beautiful, the way you write about it. I think the memories were raw for you after being home for a funeral. Thank you for sharing these gems. I love the pictures too. Oh and that last stanza goes beyond wonderful.

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  25. I felt a comfortable familiarity reading this piece, as if you were guiding me back to my roots. Such a wonderful experience. You are precious, Sherry.

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  26. A vibrant summary "in glorious technicolor" of your life so far--I look forward to many more radiant sensory posts as you continue on your journey.

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  27. I like your story of a journey - I think all our lives are so - if we but accept a little bit of adventure.

    At the beginning, you were a child of the woods, I like that image. It fits you.

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  28. I really enjoyed this so much Sherry. This is a story of a journey through life--thank you for sharing so much.

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  29. Sherry, this is absolutely beautiful. You have told the story of where you are from so vividly. There is a rhythm that lulls you throughout the read and at the end I think it merges with the waves of the ocean. LOVE it!!

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  30. Sherry, this could have been my beginnings, where I came from, many of the same details, it's uncanny, except for the locations and people. Only I didn't go that direction because it would have been too long. This is beautiful!

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  31. what a rich life... may you pass it on... almost makes we want to go back

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  32. my goodness. this is my favorite of yours, ever. broad in scope, beautiful, generous, open-hearted, lyric, true, peaceful and accepting yet clear-eyed, wry, hopeful- just an extraordinary pen, Sherry ~

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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!