Poem by George Ella Lyons, used with permission of the author.
Jo Carson is a Southern writer with deep roots—in her case to the town and even the house in East Tennessee where her grandparents lived before her. Her sense of place and roots led her to write a book of poems based on conversations she overheard around her. Jo Carson's friend George Ella Lyons was inspired by one of these poems. She jotted down her own images of where she came from, and then made the poem "Where I'm From." Since then, the poem has been used around the world as a writing prompt, helping both adults and children write poems made up of images of where they are from.
Here is the poem "Where I'm From:"
I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
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.
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Tuesday, August 21, 2012.
Sidebar Content, Page Navigation
More Ways to Search
Donate to Support This Program and the Ongoing Work of the UUA
Read or subscribe to UUA.org Updates for the latest additions to our site.
Learn more about the Beliefs & Principles of Unitarian Universalism, or read our online magazine, UU World, for features on today's Unitarian Universalists. Visit an online UU church, or find a congregation near you.