The next two posts offer poems that revisit the past to inspire present day writing. At any stage of life, the past might have a new lens through which we view it. Memories, good and bad, can become foggy, blurred or even dreamlike in retrospect. Some things STAND OUT while others fade into oblivion.
Beneath the Shadow of the Freeway
by Lorna Dee Cervantes
We were a woman family:
Grandma, our innocent Queen;
Mama, the Swift Knight, Fearless Warrior.
Mama wanted to be Princess instead.
I know that. Even now she dreams of taffeta
and foot-high tiaras.
Myself: I could never decide
So I turned to books, those staunch, upright men.
I became Scribe: Translator of Foreign Mail,
interpreting letters from the government, notices
of dissolved marriages and Welfare stipulations.
I paid the bills, did light man-work, fixed faucets,
against all leaks.
How very real! I love this poem. I love where it takes me and who I meet!
How about writing a copycat poem here? Choose one of your ancestors and in the first stanza, disclose some of your observations about him or her. When you think of him or her, what thoughts pop up immediately? Go with these.
In the second stanza, shift to yourself and relate something about yourself (back then). What was the role you played in that family? Describe it poetically.