Saturday, April 9, 2016

George Ella Lyon

"Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest form of learning."— George Bernard Shaw

Welcome to Day 9 of FEET IN THE CREEK.

Week 2 poets:
April 8: Janet Wong

For each day I have chosen a favorite poem, a favorite poet, or a favorite friend. I will look at the work, decide what draws me to it, what makes it resonate for me, and then write my own poem about the creek with those techniques in mind. These are first drafts, so nothing will be especially polished, but they will be starting points for revision after the month is done. Feel free to follow along or join in.

Today's featured poet is
George Ella Lyon, whose work certainly does "sing the connection between things." Click here to see her award winning collection of books. Her most recent picture book, Boats Float, was named Bank Street Best Children's Books of the Year for 2016. 


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. 

George Ella Lyon ©1993. Used with the author's permission. 

My Intention: Write a poem from the creek's perspective making connections to places and times in its past history. 

Head Waters

I am from chaos before the continents formed,
from glacial melt and ocean spray,
from eons of deluge and morning dew,
and thunderous cataracts crashing down cliffs.
I am from remembered rainbows
arching over tranquil shores.

I am from the showers that moisten the Appalachians,
from storms that siphon through valleys and form 
great rivers. am from the St. Lawrence, 
the Ohio, the Tennessee. I'm from the Nantahala,
and the Chattahoochee that I follow south.

I am from clear lakes of Carolina, the catfish 
ponds of southern Georgia. I am from 
stagnant swamps where cypress sink their roots
and gators sun. I am from the reservoir 
not three miles north. 
I am from the storm that kept you awake
last night while sirens blared their warning.
I am from the wake of warrior waters
streaming contentedly toward the sea.

© Doraine Bennett, 2016. All rights reserved.

Week 1 poets:
April 1: Ralph Fletcher
April 2: Douglas Florian
April 3: Progressive poem. Catch up here.
April 4: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes
April 5: Walt Whitman
April 6: Irene Latham
April 7: Carmen Bernos de Gasztold

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