Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Where I'm From Poem

Okay, so I have to admit something. I've heard about this poem and assignment combination before, and while I know it has merit for students in classrooms ranging from elementary to secondary, I wanted to throw a temper-tantrum when asked to write one myself. I could hear my inner child exclaim "I don't wanna!" After listing memories in several different categories, I felt the too-often experienced pang of knowing that most of my early memories range from fairly dark to outright tragic. The very fact that I have worked to create a new reality in my adult life and a new type of family for my children makes it difficult for me to revisit some of my earlier memories. I don't like to dwell though I acknowledge that it is important to know where I come from. So, there you have it; I ultimately talked myself into completing the template and resultant poem. Here are the results:

Where I’m From
by Amber Counts

 I am from music,
from alternative rock and melancholy ballads.
I am from the home destroyed by lies.
(Arguments, deception, it smelled like marijuana.)
I am from the mighty oak,
the Tree that Grows in Brooklyn,
rising up between the cracks of the concrete jungle
despite its oppressive beginnings.

I’m from new family traditions,
forged with Erik and Tabytha and Ian.
I’m from the talk about everythings
and the showing we care through the little things,
from You care too deeply!
and You’re too nice to everyone!
I’m from forgiveness of those who have harmed me
and occasionally of myself.

I’m from Native America and its conquerors,
corn and Cadbury chocolate.
From the day I met Erik in band
and skipped school to spend time with him,
the beautiful children in our laughter-filled home
26 years later.

I am from love and truth
that have triumphed over my parents’
mistakes of the past.
I am not trapped in their bluesy songs of woe.
I make my own music now.
Upbeat tempo.

1 comment:

  1. I think that you are absolutely right --- it is hard to dredge up experiences that you have laid to rest. But I think that you can also take charge in the way that you have here. The poem offers a frame rather than an edict. the ZPD and Choice in writing allows the writer to take up the idea where s/he is able. In my classroom the idea is offered as a possibility rather than a mandate.
    I think that it would have been helpful for others to hear your response to the idea. Presenting opposing views is a good way for to maintain our abilities to think critically. Years ago I had a student tell me that she felt like the class was therapy and she did not need it. I agree --- reading and writing are therapeutic. Sometimes we need to revisit ideas and sometimes we can cast them aside becaue they no longer fit. In any classroom, we want to think about how our assignments "fit to the purpose." Our idea of using the poem is to help expand our knowledge of each other so it increases the community feeling. And it offers a "template" for those who are having difficulty starting to write.
    Thanks for your honest reaction and offering a different way to think about it.