Who am I? What makes me ME? How like my father or mother am I? How much of who I am is down to my genes and how much is down to how I was brought up. Nature or nurture, the perennial debate. I am sure everyone asks questions such as these at some point in their life.
This week I came across an article written by Susan Plett entitled “Whatever gets you to the page” in which she poses a series of questions designed to help reflect on our personal history and heritage as part of encouraging the reader to put pen to paper.
This poem which I titled “Me 2018” was the result. At the same time and unbeknown to me, my eldest grandson, aged 12, had been tasked with something very similar at his school in Bristol as part of his creative writing class. With his kind permission I also attach his poem “I am from” to this blog. Perhaps he has inherited a bit of the "writing gene"?
These two poems draw me back to the words of Psalm 139 illuminating the truth that both nature and nurture themselves rest in God’s loving hands
For you created my inmost being;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
And Verse 16:
All the days ordained for me
Were written in your book
Before one of them came to be.
I am from the once soot-stained north,
from Ilkley moor,
but also Kentish garden
through the serendipity of war.
I am from a thirties semi
and the stern Victorian villa that came soon after,
and cold tiled floor.
I am from the fern and heather, the antirrhinum and the English apple,
from playing “donkey”, Reg and Win, from Wild and Hubble;
From “life’s not fair” and “lovely gravy”.
Sunday Missal, my mother’s rosary.
I am from the warp and weft of the West Riding,
from bread and jam and Yorkshire pudding;
From “children should be seen, not heard”;
From Peter Rabbit’s Race-game and a wood “shuv ha’penny” board.
I am from a crowded family home,
aunts and uncles, siblings, cousins;
a tribe that is both dying out and yet renewed,
from generations past and now of generations new.
© 2018 Martin Wild
I am From
I’m from tidiness,
From slow change,
And from toffee,
I’m from Capetown, South Africa,
And from Zambia,
I’m from bad garden and from ugly.
I am from fudge, and from mint top deck,
I am from Frangos and Somerfield,
I am from kale and chorizo soup and from ham, egg and spinach.
I’m from illness,
And the times when my Dad stepped on a nail,
And when my Auntie died of cancer.
I’m from my Granny’s pureed roast dinner,
From chicken bacon pasta in a creamy white wine sauce.
I am from blond hair,
And from brown eyes
I am from…..ME
© Ethan Leaman 2018