my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Saturday, September 1, 2012


My beautiful granddaughters
(I will honor Cameron with his page later)

Cadence 4 months

Kalaya 16 moths

Jaelynn 12 (Tiffiny too)

Cries of the Spirit is a very nice collection of poems by women compiled by Marilyn Sewell. I went searching in that book for more by Margaret Atwood after posting Boat, which many of you told me you particularly enjoyed. This is just the third portion of a five part poem. As a grandmother I fully understand how passionately one loves her grandchildren (and great grandchildren). I was fortunate to have both grandmothers in my life well into my thirties, and I was close to both of them. But for some reason, I never suspected my great grandmothers would have felt the same fierce connection to me. Reading poems like these help me realize the connection I feel for my "decedents" would likely have been felt by my great grandmothers too. That's nice to think about.  

Five Poems for Grandmothers (excerpt)
Margaret Atwood
How little I know
about you finally. 

The time you stood
in the nineteenth century
on Yonge Street, a thousand
miles from home, with a brown purse
and a man stole it.

Six children, five who lived
she never said anything
about those births and the one death,
her mouth closed on a pain
that could neither be told not ignored.

She used to have such a sense of fun.
Now girls, she would say
when we would tease her.
Her anger though, why
that would curl your hair,
though she never swore.
The worst thing she could say was:
Don’t be foolish.

At eighty she had two teeth pulled out
and walked the four miles home
in the noon sun, placing her feet
in her own hunched shadow.

The bibbed print aprons, the shock
of the red lace dress, the pin
I found at six in your second drawer,
made of white beads, the shape of a star.
What did we ever talk about
but food, health and the weather?

Sons branch out, but
one woman leads to another
Finally I know you
through your daughters,
my mother, her sisters,
and through myself.

Is this you, this edgy joke
I make, are these your long fingers,
your hair of an untidy bird
is this your outraged
eye, this grip
that will not give up?

The second poem, (ironically, because I did not plan it that way) is by Nikki Giovanni, whose poem I posted last week. The ending is so true....nobody ever does say what they really mean.

Nikki Giovanni

her grandmother called her from the playground
         “yes, ma’am,” said the little girl
        “i want chu to learn how to make rolls” said the old
woman proudly
but the little girl didn’t want
to learn how because she knew
even if she couldn’t say it that
that would mean when the old one died she would be less
dependent on her spirit so
the little girl said
        “i don’t want to know how to make no rolls”
with her lips poked out
and the old woman wiped her hands on
her apron saying “lord
        these children”
and neither of them ever
said what they meant
and I guess nobody ever does


Loretta said...

I have felt a sense of loss because both of my grandmothers passed away before I had a chance to have a relationship with them. However these poems bring back a memory, about my mother's Grandma Davis. I was around three years old when my mother excitedly told me, "We are going to see Grandma Davis today." She seemed to be very happy about this occassion.

When we got there, Grandma Davis was seated in darkened room. I was told that she could not see very well, so I needed to go and stand very close to her so she could see me. I remember that she touched me on the cheek and made a sound that seemed to be filled with love and joy. The sound and the memory have been in my heart ever since. Of course, at the time I could not define it as love and joy, but today I know that's what it was--is.

Pam's Mom

pkcyphert said...

That is what I am talking about. Can you imagine if Grandma Davis were able to see you with your four great-grandchildren today?