On the Agenda

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Peace, Juicy Salads

The title today came to me from the closing of a blog post by David Lamotte. I think in Spanish it's supposed to say "Peace, Justice and Health" (or something) but when I saw it my immediate translation was a little different.

Today I wish to say "peace" to my grandfather who passed on last night. And for that I would like to share a poem I wrote about three years ago. After she read it, my mom remarked that she didn't realize I had picked up on so much, which just goes to show for the memory and perception of children. And for the general amazing quality of life.

Moore County, NC
by Catherine Williams

I am from the dust,
built up from time and bees and cobwebs,
in the garage where the tractor and the old RV go to rust.
I am from the bare ground around the blue porch
and the round sycamore pods that fall there to unleash their furry futures.
I am from the tadpoles in the mason jar that shattered on the porch
and sliced my little thumb.
I am from dog lots and wandering canines
and the far-off bursts of shotguns on holidays.
I am from ‘Bless her heart’ and coconut cake, cut sideways so you can see all the layers.
I am from brown-and-serve rolls in a silver serving bowl
and the frog on the edge of the sink holding a dish scrubber.
I am from counters packed with too much food and kitchens packed with the consequences.
I am from the burnt orange chair in the corner that spins ‘round
and the State Fair dolphin, blind, worn, and battered, in the closet.
I am from blue boys’ bathrooms and uncle-carved bed posts,
butterfly bathtub slip guards and a glass Christmas tree with lights.
I am from four generations of Christmas cactus, late-blooming on the back porch.
I am from years of sand piled up around hills where tobacco once grew.
I am from the tobacco and every worm my Daddy pulled off it
and every blister he got working it.

His blood, my blood, runs in the veins
of half of the men and women rooted in the sandy hills.
I am from a house whining with leaky plumbing
and the tinny sounds of Wheel of Fortune,
slipcovered with dust and monotony; but I know
that once it was alive with dancing and the music
brought home from the roller rinks.

4 musings:

Amanda said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss, Cat. That poem is wonderful--it seems so authentic to me, if that makes any sense. I really liked it, and I'm glad you let me know about this blog you've started.

Talk to you soon, miss you and my thoughts are with you.

Karabou said...

Dearest Cat. Sorry to hear about this! I had no idea!! I am thinking about you! I love the poem, it brings me here to Mobile...well really to Montreat, to the South...my mom would say great Identity poem! :) She's always having her kids do them!!! I love you!

Bob Tuttle said...

Cat, your poem reminds me of John McCutcheon's song...they live on in us, don't they:

Water From Another Time
words and music by John McCutcheon

New mown hay on a July morn
Grandkids running through the knee-high corn
Sunburned nose and a scabbed-up knee
From a rope on the white oak tree
Just another summer's day at Grandpa's farm
With Grandma's bucket hanging off my arm
You know, the old pump's rusty but it work fine
Primed with water from another time
CHORUS:

It don't take much, but you gotta have some
The old ways help the new ways come
Just leave a little extra for the next in line
They're gonna need a little water from another time

Tattered quilt on the goose-down bed
"Every stitch tells a story," my Grandma said
Her mama's nightgown, her grandpa's pants
>And the dress she wore to her high school dance
Now wrapped at night in its patchwork scenes
I waltz with Grandma in my dreams
My arms, my heart, my life entwined
With water from another time

Chorus

Newborn cry in the morning air
The past & future are wedded there
This wellspring of my sons and daughters:
The bone and blood of living waters
And, though Grandpa's hand have gone to dust,
Like Grandma's pump: reduced to rust,
Their stories quench my soul and mind
Like water from another time

Chorus

Katie Schwing said...

I'm so sorry about your grandfather. Love to you and your family.

I really like your poem, too.