Friday, April 8, 2016

HERITAGE


My family comes from a long line
of strong women:
Great-Grandma Julie,
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. 
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
Day 8

25 comments:

  1. This made me cry, Sherry. I know these women. I hope to be one.

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  2. This makes my heart sing, what a beautiful group of women all the way down the generations. How fortunate you are, but I'm sure you know that :-) Gives one hope for our future.

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  3. My goodness Sherry this is so very beautiful! Lovely line of heritage. Such strong and remarkable women. Beautifully penned.

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

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  4. Incredible history and family carried forward through the female line. Hurrah!

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  5. Oh my. This is soooo beautiful. I love the pictures and your words make me grateful to know there are such women, like your heritage, like you in this world.

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  6. Beautiful lines, Sherry! My great-grandparents came from Fermanagh in the 1870's and I so enjoyed reading this generational poem. Sweet! :)

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  7. I think my comment disappeared? Made me think of Antinio's Line, a movie, if you haven't seen it, see it, if you have, see it again!

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  8. My oma would feel at home, with your great grandmother Julie, Sherry. For she and my opa, came to Canada, in 1952, with 9 children, ranging from toddler to teenager, from the Nederland. settling in, northern Alberta. Had they waited a year, the Canadian government would have paid their costs, to do so. My oma lived to see 3 generations born after her. She never did master the English language, she spoke to us, grandchildren and great grandchildren, in a mixture of English and Dutch. I do miss her, very much.

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  9. And all of them sharing that wild woman gene, yes. Thanks for this, you give me ideas,

    Elizabeth

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  10. Oh what a beautiful lineage. Thanks so much for sharing it with us!

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  11. whay a beautiful story of your heritage - thanks for sharing with us

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  12. I was already so deeply enamored of this gorgeous, gorgeous spilling of amazing women...and then I got to this:
    "And we all share the same wild cackle."

    DELIGHTED.

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  13. Very sweet, Sherry, and lovely to see the pics. k.

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  14. Wonderful! Yes, that is the thing about women, isn't it - doing whatever must be done. And I love to think of you all, down even to the littlest one, cackling wildly.

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  16. Thank you, Sherry, for writing of the women in your lineage and their many tribulations and accomplishments. This is a beautiful tribute to all of them and the newer ones as well. Mine was similar, from Isle of Man instead of Ireland, until Grandma died when Mom was seven. Grandpa didn't remarry.
    ..

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  17. This is amazing! The legacy goes on.................

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  18. strong lines, both in years and on this screen, Sherry ~

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  19. What an amazing insight into a line of incredible women. Beautiful.

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  20. Yes - so much to love in that magnificent line of women, and that cackle.. Wow.

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  21. What a beautiful, honor to the lineage of wondrous women of your past, present and the girl who will welcome the future~ I love this poem-and your cackle! And how you passed on the best gifts: humor, hope and to believe~ This poem is a gem!

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  22. Sherry, when I look at your mother, I cannot help but think how much YOU look like her!! I loved seeing the photos of all the women who came before and those who will be the future.

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  23. This is glorious, Sherry. It's wonderful to read about the women whose blood, sweat, bone and brains brought you into the worlds. And to see you doing the same for the woman who come after you is a real pleasure. You all shine. ♥

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  24. I love how you point up the similarities and celebrate the strength of your matriarchal line. Wow! And I love how you claim this truth for yourself as well as those who are yet to grow up ... what a positive heritage!

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  25. Oh, Sherry!! This is such a gift. this progression of time in words and images...how beautifully you've given us the treasure of women in your lineage of which you're such a huge amazing part. Goodness...so heart-filling- beautiful...sigh. Thank you so much!

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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!