Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22 -- Ancestors Part 1


  1. Ancestors part 1

    Molly Winston got as far west as Chicago --
    I heard she was from England but it’s
    Unclear how she got to Wellesley and then
    To the midwest. She wrote stories about cowboys
    So what would she think of wet Washington
    Its pine trees and deer? They have deer in Great Britain
    So maybe the moisture and fog would make her feel
    At home and she would sit here and ask me about why
    Poems were better than stories and why writing for the
    Newspaper wasn’t possible any more. We would sit here
    And I’d offer her tea and we’d watch the deer and the newly
    Dropped fawns and the fog would burn off and she’d say how her daughter was
    nothing like her:
    a dancer, not a writer. And I’d say how my daughter was nothing
    Like me either. We’d both clean the smudges off our spectacles, and
    Talk as we looked out the window about how much we both really really
    Like boys.

    1. That's a great thought about that ancestor. It's friendly. I always wonder how they'd react to me.

    2. i've always felt very friendly towards her. My grandmother said "oh MY mother would totally understand your dissertation!" and Molly was very near-sighted and in the words of my mother "loved the fellas." so, yeah, we could have totally had THAT conversation.

    3. I love that one. I have one about talking to my Puritan Ancestor (The father-in-law to the poem I am sharing today).

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Here is a link to the poem about Deacon Samuel Chapin

    6. Here is a link to the poem about Deacon Samuel Chapin

  2. Mount Tom

    Rowland Thomas
    and Elizur Holyoke
    headed north on the
    Connecticut River

    calling across
    the river Thomas
    pointing from the
    west bank claimed that
    mountain in his name
    Mount Thomas, later
    changed to Mount Tom

    Holyoke from the
    east bank claimed
    that mountain
    in his name
    Mount Holyoke

    1. reads like a boring history - just the facts ma'am.

    2. You're getting closer to your personal mythology!

    3. i've been to your mountain! love this.

    4. It's THE Holyoke mountain? That's very cool!

    5. That's so cool Stephanie. I want to visit that area some day.

    6. Yea, I thought that it was pretty cool that my ancestor had something to do with Mount Holyoke (and that is the name of the college that Emily Dickinson went to).


    I don’t know much about my ancestors. I understand
    they came from Germany, mostly on my mom’s side
    There’s supposed to be a statue of one of them somewhere

    I don’t think many people would take me for German though:
    dark hair and dark eyes, Latinos always ask me como estas?
    I answer, mas o menos, because that’s generally how I feel
    about the whole nationality identity thing, more or less

    My dad would have been 100 years old last week
    He died when I was ten, so I didn’t know much about him
    He told us we were part Native American like everyone says

    Why is it always Cherokee? Does that make people feel better?

    I don’t think it is true, just a story he’d tell us like so many
    white lies parents tell their children about race and culture

    But most days I would rather identify with a roaming tribe rather
    than a statue somewhere cold and motionless standing for principles
    More or Less

    1. "why is it always cherokee! does that make people feel better?"

      great question! i like how this moves from germans to dad to tribes.

    2. That's great man. That's a really wonderful meditation and I agree with Stephanie!

  4. Home At Last

    Touched by the hand of God
    This majestic land of mountains
    And streams
    The eagle flies over us with its wings
    Of strength and courage shrieking nobility
    The skies are filled with the white cotton clouds
    Floating over our heads
    Steep terrain of cliff and rock
    Jutting up high into the
    Blue skies of country
    We come to this land
    From faraway
    To find promise and hope
    And the fortune of peace
    The birds in the trees
    Sing songs of praise
    To the wonder and grace
    all the land has to offer
    A greatness beyond expectation
    teeming with wildlife and safety
    guiding our way, there is a sense
    we have stumbled onto the heavens
    and the angels have approved
    Nothing we can do disturbs this dream
    Listen to the howling cry of the wolves
    Listen to the night calling with a blanket
    of comfort in the stars sparkling
    There are no words to express
    Appreciation for the beauty
    Nor the magic in the air
    As if anything is possible
    and a sense we have arrived
    Home at last
    Coming across the expanse in wagons
    Over the trails we conquered the new frontier
    Feel the rain wash over our tired bodies
    and refresh us to start the day anew
    Humbled by our good luck and blessed
    by our fortitude, we persevere to find
    nothing can stop us from remaining here
    for the next generation and the one after
    There are the skies
    There are the mountains
    There are rivers abundant with fish
    There are birds
    There are trees
    More than the stars in the
    There is always the feeling we can do no wrong
    Every step preordained with God and His acceptance
    Of us in this great land with our destiny

    1. Wow, that's a really powerful, epic poem!

  5. Lower the Sails on the White Dove

    The colonies were beckoning in February of 1620
    Henry could smell the opportunity
    To make his mark on the new world
    And transform New Amsterdam into a city

    He petitioned the Dutch Lords
    For permission to ship the freight
    To deliver a cargo that would change the world
    But was denied by the cruel hand of fate

    The package was sent in July of 1620
    But was carried by British hands
    And Henry was left to lick his wounds in Holland
    Never to set foot on colonial sands

    His ship, The White Dove
    If it had left the Amsterdam dock
    Would have delivered into the pages of history
    The pilgrims of Plymouth Rock

    His son, Henry Jr. would come across the pond
    And his sons traveled from sea to shining sea
    Planting lawyers, priests, senators and thieves
    Who eventually begot me

  6. That's a wonderful poem. Your family has been in this country a LONG time.

  7. Well, I could have gone back farther, but this is such a cool story. My family was fortunate to be the subject of a book back in the 90's. So I have our history at my fingertips :)

  8. i agree. great to be able to go that far back!

  9. These houses are so close together
    Where's the wash, and where's the weather?
    No clothes lines stretched between the trees
    No scrubbing floors down on your knees?
    Where's the wind that always blows
    So we sew metal bits in clothes
    To keep our skirts from flying high.
    You call this hot, you call this dry?
    This ain't nothing. Where's the land?
    Chickens, horses, bunkhouse, sand?
    Tucson ain't no place for fear
    No candy asses make it there!
    All your paint and all your clean
    Can't hide the fact you folks are mean
    And all the perfect you can make
    Ain't loving people for their sake.

    1. Wow, that's a really powerful and emotional poem!