Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

One Deep Breath: Grandparents

Work hard hands
Hold granddaughter on tractor
Corn tassels below

Player piano
Deep bass and chirped child's voice
"How Great Thou Art"
Family gathers around
Evening crickets sing along

Tobacco and earth
Granddaddy takes his rest
Bird dogs nap outside

Dusty overalls
Day's work done, nap
Granny makes dinner.

Silver hair, sharp eyes
"Get away from that road!
Big ole truck'll run you down."
Oh, sweet forbidden berries
Down by red clay dust.

Potato harvest,
Plaid shirts and runaway mules,
Granny tells stories,
Magic words carry me back
Before I was born.

Last breath failing,
He held her hand tight.
Final goodbye
Long years, ten children, a farm
He crossed Jordan first.

Granny writes
Poems from the mountains.
Sometimes, so do I.

From wartime Europe,
Seeking safe harbor, to live,
Oma und Opa came,
Kristallnacht still in nightmares,
Starting all over again.

Faded letters, photos
Family killed, broken, scattered,
But she survives.

"My darling, come here."
Eyes fading, but mind swift, sharp
Joy: grandson's visit.
"Just a little kaffe, kuchen..."
A feast in peace, freedom.

The first poems concern my grandparents and great-grandparents on my dad's side. I used to live for trips back to the farm - rides on Grandpa's tractor, time in the kitchen with Granny, visiting the birddogs with Granddaddy, smelling of his tobacco, and Grandma, who had eyes in the back of her head and just knew when we kids were headed for the blackberry bushes near the road.

The last few concern my husband's currently surviving grandmother who came to America after getting her husband back following a Yom Kippur raid on their synagogue. Only a few members of their family survived.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

These should all be pasted next to the photographs in your albums. I am in awe of how many clear images they produce in my mind. Just plain heart warming - all of them.

9/04/2007 2:07 PM  
Blogger Clare said...

Incredible stories and images -- I reread this several times because it moved me so much. You really brought it to life so vividly. Thank you. Really well done.

9/04/2007 8:59 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Very impressive. Each is beautiful yet strung together they read as a poem........I am blown away!

9/04/2007 10:53 PM  
Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

I enjoyed reading these as a series. Reading them as individual pieces, the first haiku is my favourite.

9/04/2007 11:45 PM  
Blogger Tumblewords: said...

Heartfelt and telling of lifestyles. I loved these - each one threaded into the timeline.

9/05/2007 1:05 AM  
Blogger Roswila said...

Oh, this is such a wonder-filled series, I can't pick a favorite. But maybe this one:

Silver hair, sharp eyes
"Get away from that road!
Big ole truck'll run you down."
Oh, sweet forbidden berries
Down by red clay dust.

9/05/2007 7:03 AM  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

The first one seems like a fairy tale, the second one appears as even more poignant because of the comparison.

9/06/2007 2:28 AM  
Blogger megan said...

these are wonderful...such contrast between their lives, but you captured the common theme...their love for each other...you really brought them to life for me.

9/07/2007 4:49 PM  

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