Saturday, July 11, 2009

Everyday Poetry: Ancestors

Florence's Hands

I am not at Brushwood this year, celebrating the ritual cycles of Sirius Rising as I have in previous years, but they are on my mind. I've been having fun looking at old photographs I've inherited over the years.
Here are are a few of my own contributions to the "Ancestor Mound", offering gratitude to
those who made my life possible through the threads of their own lives. One of these days, I'm going to put their stories down.......or at least, my imaginings and intuitions of their stories.

Here is my maternal Grandmother Helen, who died before I was born. How do you look at an old photo of a young life (in the height of fashion for her day) full of the dreams and fears of being so young.....and realize as you look, that life is already over, the story spun and re spun, and somehow, I am a part of the continuum, I carry that story forward whether I realize, respect, or know it at all.....and in some way that I will never understand?

All I really know about Helen is that she was a twin, she grew up in Los Angeles, and had she been born in another situation or another time, would probably have been an artist. In all her photos, Helen always looks sad. I think, like the tight, uncomfortable garments she had to wear, she may have felt terribly constrained by her life, never free to fully express herself, never free to dance. Perhaps, in some way, I've lived what she could not.

How can we not feel tenderness, looking at old photos, wondering at these stories?

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