My family comes from a long line
of strong women:
small and sparrow-like,
who boarded a ship from County Cork in Ireland,
on the heels of the potato famine,
crossing the rough, wild sea to Canada,
to live in the bush while her husband lay track
for the first railroad to cross the new land.
Floss, her youngest, the first young woman
to ride horseback for pleasure
in farm country,
who caught the eye of
the handsome young bank manager
with the big blue eyes,
and the rest was her-story, (and mine).
She raised five kids through the depression,
washed laundry by hand in the bathtub,
walked miles to buy bruised bananas cheap
off the freight trains
to make dessert for her children,
and all the hobos knew Flo's house,
where they always got something to eat,
the Lord knows how.
My mother, Renee, with a heart big as Kansas,
made of true grit, who lived hard years
with the love of her life
then, when he died, as a single mother
kept her family together,
as she worked her way up through the ranks
to better and better jobs.
I carry the matrilineal genes:
the sense of humour, the grit,
the Keeping On,
the Doing What Is To Be Done.
As a single mother of four,
there was scarcity of funds
but always so much laughter,
and hope, and an abiding love
of the natural world.
I passed on to my daughters
the humour, the hope,
the rolling up of one's sleeves
and the Carrying On,
the belief in dreams, and themselves,
along with the big blue eyes
of our clan.
My granddaughter, Ali, bursts forth,
a living flame,
aware, raw vegan, animal activist,
seeker of truth, beauty
and a way to live more lightly
on the land.
And her daughter, Lunabella,
will carry the embers
of the familial fire
forward, far into the future.
We are an open-minded, open-hearted lot,
strong women, all.
strong women, all.
We have each made incredible inner journeys.
And we all share the same wild cackle.
for my prompt at Real Toads: Suffragettes / Women's Freedom / Strong Women