Where I’m From – A Crowdsourced Poem

Family photo of a picnic at my Grandmother’s house. She is in the plaid shirt looking toward the camera. 1965

I wrote an earlier blog about a workshop I attended centered around the poem “Where I’m From” written by George Ella Lyon. You can read that post by following this link.

I finally have my first version of that poem complete and as promised, I am sharing it here. It definitely gives you a taste of the way I grew up. After writing, I realized I could write this poem ten times over because it is impossible to include all the aspects of who I am in one short poem. But this does give you a window into what makes me who I am.

Maggie – Where I’m From

I am from worn-out Bibles and divinity fudge
From mimosa trees and bumblebees
I am from stringin’ beans and shuckin’ corn
and huddling around the Siegler stove.
I am from black walnuts
whose shells hid tiny faces with big eyes.

I am from valley creek and the baptizing hole
From Bertha Rose and Walter.
I am from minding your manners
and counting your blessings.
from hard workers and tall tale-tellers.
I’m from Peace in the Valley and Steal Away to Jesus

I am from Big Jim and Freida Mae
angel biscuits and chinquapins
from walking home after Sunday preachin’.
Faded faces of my family kept
tucked away in a Whitman’s Sampler box
still smelling of old chocolate.
From heart attacks and mistletoe and
stereo images of well-appointed ladies.

I am from those moments slowly slipping away
but forever in my DNA.

34 thoughts on “Where I’m From – A Crowdsourced Poem”

    1. John, it was a rather large oil burner (maybe 4′ high) with a round vent at the bottom where the blower blew out warm air. As kids, we would lie on the floor and dry our hair in front of the blower.

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  1. Nice imagery. Also nice to see the back and forth about your memories. Bro? Happy to know you have continued with this piece.

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    1. This was my first poem, Willow. I know Lauren wrote two versions.

      I think I will stop with this one. It is a good picture of my foundation.


        1. No apology necessary, Willow. We read from so many different bloggers every day it is easy to mix it up. I have done this myself!


  2. Oh Maggie, everything you write paints vivid images! PLEASE write a book. I’ve seeing inside your head and heart.

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  3. I can picture it all from your words. My own ‘where I’m from’ couldn’t be more different. I might have to think about writing one of these, Maggie. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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    1. Oh, Pete, that would be interesting. There are many, many helpful tools online to gather thoughts and format a similar structure. I would love to read something like this from you.

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  4. Lovely poem, Maggie with some wonderful imagery and I can see your childhood rolling past my eyes. It’s a brilliant exercise to do and I’ll use it with my writing group sometime.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. It was a wonderful way to put myself back in that time and place. I appreciate your comment so much. I think this poem would be a great writing exercise. 😊

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