The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Where YOU From?

        This week we began a poetry-writing unit. Our third graders are starting out with an "I am from..." poem. And since George Ella Lyon's is a classic, I thought I'd share it. (I would love for you to comment and write a line--or two or three or a stanza--about where you are from.)

Where I'm From

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.
I'm from fudge and eyeglasses,
          from Imogene and Alafair.
I'm from the know-it-alls
          and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I'm from He restoreth my soul
          with a cottonball lamb
          and ten verses I can say myself.
I'm from Artemus and Billie's Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
          to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.
Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments--
snapped before I budded --
leaf-fall from the family tree.


  1. Wow. Oh, wow. Love this. I've never read this before, Sioiux, but I just read and re-read it. Beautiful. A lovely gift first thing in the morning.

    What am I? Not much of a poet, but here goes: I am crayons becoming lava on an Arizona sidewalk and sunsets blanketing the desert sky like Joseph's coat. I am lilacs and snowflakes, and Rustles of Spring. I am costume jewelry and aquamarine.

    That's the best I can do at 6:30 a.m. lol Fun stuff. Thanks for this, Sioux. I'll be playing this stuff in my brain all day.

    1. Holy moly, Lisa. You're not much of a poet? Remind me to NOT let you know about a poetry contest, if I find one and decide to enter it myself... 'cause if YOU entered it, you'd blow up my chances of even placing.

      I guess you think you're not much of a romance novelist either? Whoops. Too late for anyone to believe that one, either.

    2. Sioux and Lisa,
      you are both astounding poets. Astounding.

  2. I love this poem and think it is perfect to inspire students and your readers.

    I am from hardscrabble and make do, radio preachers and hillbilly music, mud pies and make believe, unbalanced which made me centered, caring and kind.

    1. Linda--I imagine you could write a whole poem as rich and image-filled as this snippet. (I especially love "mud pies and make believe.")

  3. Lovely, lovely poem. A classic for sure. And Lisa's was pretty darn good as well.

    I am from beeswax and whispered prayers,
    Irish eyes and German know-how,
    Honeysuckle and salt air,
    Gardenias and Chick-Fil-A chicken.
    I'm from God, family, football on the weekend.
    Generally in that order.

    Not as poetic but I think I made my point. :-)

    1. Cathy--That contrast between salt air and honeysuckle really paints a picture. I'm curious how the beeswax plays a part in your past... (I too am from German know-how and Dutch stubborness. ;)

  4. I have that template and always thought it was a wonderful way to create a meaningful and surprisingly lovely poem.

    Critter Alley

    1. Pat--Is IS a way to come up with something rich... because we're including all those important and specific and rich details of our lives.

      Good luck with that historical novel you ARE going to work on. (Can you feel that not-so-gentle nudge? ;)

  5. You asked for it:

    I am from backwoods ingenuity
    Good grades and dreams fulfilled
    I am from giving your word and standing by it
    Not going barefoot until May first, and washing your feet before bed
    I am from opening one present on Christmas Eve
    And behaving yourself so you don’t get the flyswatter

  6. Val--We have some things in common. We got to open one gift on Christmas Eve (our choice) and unfortunately, I got the flyswatter a lot. My mom could reach from the front passenger seat our station wagon all the way to the back with her arm and the flyswatter. And when we traveled to Florida to visit our grandparents, we always stated at Holiday Inn ('cause kids ate for free) and my brother and I would try to run in ahead of my parents because they'd have a flyswatter in the bureau drawer... and we'd try to hide it. No need for my mom to have a spare...

    1. You know what they say..."Spare the flyswatter, spoil the child." We did not have a traveling flyswatter. We had my dad: "Don't make me pull this car over!" We never did.

  7. Awesome, awesome poem, Sioux. I originally used an exclamation point but had to take it off because it didn't convey the appropriately solemn sincerity I am feeling right now.

    Mine makes me giggle: I am from a paradox
    of artistic Nebraskan republicans
    who believed in God and voting
    and the right shade of cadmium red.
    Of dogs and ghosts
    and screen doors that someone yelled
    Shut behind you
    that slammed with a TACK


Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by...