Friday, May 05, 2006

Where I'm From

I was inspired by my friend Alana to write my own "Where I'm From." You can follow the link on her page to see where she got it. Nancie Atwell has a similar idea in Naming the World.

Here's the original poem by George Ella Lyon.

And then here's mine.

Where I'm From

I am from malaria medicine,
from clothes hand sewn to match my brothers' outfits,
from word games and family readalouds.
I'm from airline tickets and moving days and new houses.
I am from chicken curry, chapatis, and ugali,
from homemade pizza and ice cream,
from chai and morsik.

I am from jacaranda and bougainvillea,
mown lawns, and endless fields of tea.

I am from Wednesday evening prayer meetings,
kneeling on polished wooden floors with my face in a folding chair,
from upcountry mission stations, from Sunday school,
from potluck suppers after church,
from slide shows of foreign places
and foreign people who are friends to me.
I'm from singing "God is so good" in three languages.
I am from missionaries – odd mixture of madcap adventure
and dutiful keeping of rules.
I am from men unafraid to cry
and women unafraid to use their brains.

I am from the long corridors of boarding school,
smelling of Dettol.
I'm from weekly letters home,
from visiting Saturdays with chocolate cake.

I am from overstuffed bookcases,
from unscheduled hours in libraries,
from Narnia, from Little Women.

I'm from "Ee Mungu, nguvu yetu,"
"God Save the Queen,"
and "Oh say, can you see?"
I'm from American children gaping at my African life,
and from African children fingering my blonde pigtails.
I'm from British people saying, "You don't seem American,"
and Americans saying, "I love your British accent."

I'm from somewhere else,
from who knows where,
from homesickness.


Andy Bowen said...

My heart said, Hey! I'm from there too!

Thank you.

Alana said...

made tears come to my eyes. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Bacchus provided the link over here to read your poem. Very well said.

I imagine that if Steve wrote where he was from, I might also say, "Hey! I'm from there, too!"

You and Steve (and children) are always in our thoughts and prayers.

Paul D.

Anonymous said...


Ruth said...

Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments. This is by far the most comments I've ever had on a post in my lengthy two-week blogging career. Hope you all come back and read more!

Anonymous said...

I love it!