27 March 2015

This Search for Tribe



This search for tribe
along world's riverbanks
with names of past ghosts
exhausts me. At some point
I sigh surrender, go home
among the ghosts of ancestors

long past whose names I do not know
but whose genes form my riverbanks,
folded and tucked, course bent, 
hands structured, twilight eyes, 
this mother tongue spoken,
my tribe.


Posted for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets and inspired by Margaret's archived challenge, Play it Again # 15, back on Saturday over at the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. I chose the one imagined by Ella in 2012 about Poem Sketching- using a word group and developing it into a poem. I'm a little late but the words I used are: tribe, riverbank, ghosts, names. I took the photo in Prince Edward Island where my maternal grandmother is from.

30 comments:

  1. I like this a lot Mary.. I think you also worked in a metaphor of the river flowing describing how our destiny might develop.

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    1. Thanks, Bjorn, for your deeper reading and for stopping by.

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  2. for me there's so much yearning for home and belonging in this.. sometimes traveling is wonderful - sometimes we need nothing more than home..

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  3. I like the idea of the searching for 'tribe' in our lives. Perhaps our tribe does exist at home with our ancestors, among people we perhaps do not know or remember but who have influenced who we are.

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    1. That's how it seems to me at this point.

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  4. Very nice Mary ~ I like the idea of searching for them along riverbanks, knowing that their blood runs in our veins ~ I am all for knowing and feeling connected to our roots ~

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    1. Me too. I've met cousins in Ireland who have lived in the same country in the same culture for generations and therefore don't have to search to connect. They just are. We who have had our ancestors leave their countries and cultures and start anew elsewhere are left to search for our tribe.

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  5. Yes, what a journey. Sometimes we feel the weight of our ancestors and also the intrigue.

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    1. Yes, and both inform us in unique ways on our journey.

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  6. Beautiful picture, even more beautiful words.

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  7. Mmm.. Isn't culture/heritage a strange thing? How we can feel connected or disconnected depending on the situation.. I've often felt like I have no firm place to set foot upon - I need to be in perpetual motion as I don't really 'fit' anywhere. Beautiful poem.

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    1. Yes, strange, especially when multiple cultures run through our genes as we attempt to plant our feet in yet another.

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  8. Our tribes define us, more than we know

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  9. Beautifully expressed, profound thoughts.

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    1. Thanks, Rosemary. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one concerned about such things.

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  10. Love the use of the river image here and how you have worked with it throughout the poem. Nice work.

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  11. This is a very pretty and human poem, Mary. I think of the genes folded and tucked in a Dna spindle, which is certainly like a river. Lovely-- the feeling of the ghosts and the exhaustion of feeling their presence -- even with love-- quite real. Thanks. K. Manicddaily

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    1. The helix is in there too, K. Thanks for swinging by.

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  12. Beautiful thoughts Grandmother Mary! And so very true... Sometimes when I drive under certain bridges in my home state, or building like St. Francis hospital or the Ohio Penitentiary in Chilicothe I think of my grandfather walking the smae ground, drawing breaths in the same spot I stand, so many years before after finally getting work through FDR's New Deal... Your poem strikes a chord with me. Is it me? Us? I don't know. Sometimes when I'm driving through beautiful areas, like the Tennessee Mountains - I imagine Union or Rebel Troops marching through the same paths - probably goat paths then instead of roads though... The idea is so incredibly romantic to me. History is always all around us... I touched the handrail on the steps in Ford' Theater, the same handrail John Wilkes Booth used to steady his gait as he ascended those same stairs on that fateful night - and the hand rail across the street inside the house where Lincoln was taken after the gunfire, a rail that Mary Todd Lincoln probably rested against momentarily, weeping, watching her entire world fade away. I have put my hand on the fuselage of a Messerschmidt Jet from WWII, which unfortunately was used against the allied troops of that era... These things are so incredibly powerful Mary. I somehow think you knew that you captured them in your poem. That, dear Granny, is what poetry is about... Kudos...

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    1. I've had that same experience here when I walked the Apian Way - part of the history of people to do so. I'm glad you stopped by and that this sparked so many memories for you.

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  13. How to honor the past while living the present? Always a balancing act ~

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  14. My tribe is a twisted walk. Searching it leaves me unbalanced.

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  15. Beautiful poem and stunning photo!

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  16. I really like this. I feel those feelings when I am where my ancestors once lived.

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  17. This is such a profound & humane poem... loved the imagery and style :)
    Beautifully written..!!
    Happy Sunday :D
    xoxo

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