I am from piano music floating carelessly through the air,
From singing hymns and tunes to the depths of our being.
I am from the Beatitudes inspiring an attitude of gratitude,
From “America the Beautiful” sung loudly and proudly
For father and husband,
From “Amazing Grace” sung humbly and reverently for
Preachers and teachers.
I am from drafty roll-out windows and checkerboard kitchen tile.
From starch water in a coke bottle with a sprinkler top
And starch-pressed white shirts for Daddy to wear to the bank.
I am from Mama rap, rap, rapping on the typewriter
Lessons for tomorrow’s English class –
Poetry constructed and destructed, short stories analyzed
And Shakespeare translated.
I am from first job as a soda jerk and “Yes sir” and “Yes ma’am”
And “Please deposit your film here.”
From milkshakes made from scratch,
From pouring small packages of lance peanuts into small coke bottles.
I am from pecan trees that reach their long arms into the sky to
Cradle the sun so that they can yield their bounty in the fall.
From McAlister and Price, Junkins and Garrison, Adams and Jones;
From Mama Mac, Grandmama, Granddaddy
And a grandfather I never met.
I am from Anderson, Greenville and Leesville, towns imprinted on my soul,
From summer trips to Murrells Inlet which supplied
Seashells, sharks’ teeth and sunburns.
From classrooms and libraries, stories and poetry;
From words that cut to the bone and
Words that apply healing salve to the wound.
I am from Civil Rights Marches that unsettled my young mind,
From President John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy
And Dr. Martin Luther King assassinated, annailated
That left me wondering who is next.
I am from Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilts, soft covers for hard times;
From handmade dresses stitched with love and care.
I am from hand-me-downs and photo albums
Chronicling a childhood shared with three siblings.
I am from honesty, hard-work, Do-unto-others-as-you-would-have-done-to-you,
I am from scraps and threads passed down by generations
Through time and woven together
Into a tapestry called me.
By Sharmen Oswald
“Member of Pegasus Poets and Foothills Writers Guild”.
Where I’m From
By Charles Kinnaird
I am from an old wrought iron floor lamp that I used to stand on
and pretend I was a koala bear sitting in a eucalyptus tree;
From white bread and peanut butter.
I am from the little light green asbestos-siding house on top of the hill just up the road from the fish pond where train comes through.
I am from the grassy field and woodland stream,
And the water oak whose long gone limbs I remember as if they were my own.
I’m from Church every Sunday and hand cranked ice cream in the summer.
From picking wild plums that grow along dirt roads
And harvesting vegetables from the family garden plot.
I’m from the small town Baptist preacher and the high school English teacher,
From Sunday afternoon naps and sitting around the kitchen table,
And from trips to the library.
I’m from “haste makes waste” and “keep your elbows off the table”
And “Climb, Climb up Sunshine Mountain” that we sang in Sunday school.
I’m from hanging stockings on Christmas Eve.
I’m from St. Mary’s Hospital and Scots-Irish immigrants of years past who farmed, preached, taught school, did the early shift down at the saw mill, stocked shelves over at the general store, and worked for Western Union.
I’m from cotton mill country and field peas with corn bread.
From the Depression-era mechanic who answered a higher call
and went off to college, not knowing if he would be able to afford the next year’s tuition – but by George, he did it!
From the elephant bell in the corner of the room that was a wedding gift
And the old wicker-backed wooden rocker where the grandma I never knew
Let down her hair in the evening, so they say.
I am from a long line of folks who knew how to keep a good name.
Some were tough as nails
Some were quiet, some were ornery,
Some a bit odd,
But they were all good folks, so they say.