With the world still waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine, and travel restrictions in place, I find myself "on repeat" in my Daily Dance, and so exploring my Home-at-Heart Muse energy more.
"Even when all is not going well, your Home-at-Heart Muse represents what comforts and sustains you. She’s also the true North that guides you when bigger choices must be made."
Right now, my choices mostly consist of what to make for dinner and what time to go for a swim—two things that definitely comfort and sustain me. But this muse also brings up memories and feelings that are rooted in where we're from—our "home" of origin. So, another way to connect with what "comforts and sustains us" is to do a little digging there.
Here's a "Where I'm From" poem I wrote a few years ago:
Where I'm From
by Robbyn Layne McGill
I am from the Big House
in the woods on the hill.
Red white and blue pride
and dreams tie-dyed, maybe.
I am from fried chicken, canned spinach and cantaloupe,
dirt track race cars
and a horse in the yard
pear trees, arrowheads, and woods spray-painted blue
the long, hidden gravel driveway on your left
and a wishing well nailed shut.
I am from gray squirrels and sweetheart trees,
walnuts and purple irises
rabbits, horses, goats, and birds,
and too many stray dogs and cats to count
I am from a fireball
and the white boy in the woods
a ghost in the attic and “go outside and play”
I am from lopsided forts and treacherous treehouses
and a plywood-ship on cement blocks.
that could sail anywhere in the world.
I am from an old red barn and a dusty hayloft wild with
wasps, molded photos, car parts, and grain
I am from no neighbors, or sidewalks and
a fake address to attend the “better” school.
I am from a fire that billowed smoke down a stairwell,
from a cigarette, I lit and stuffed in a couch.
I am from a very, very clean house
Dusted with pledge
Every Saturday morning
to the beat of the BGs, Linda Ronstadt and John Lennon.
I am from all day at the roller rink, bowling, and skate parties
and lonely train sounds in the distance all night.
I am from navy and railroad, waitress and nurse,
Neon sign-makers, house painters, cop, con, and race car drivers
I am from river swimming, rednecks, and classic rock
Ice tea, rooftops and
and Marlboro light 100s.
I am from looking for the rainbow,
flipping off cake eaters, wild at heart without tattoos, wine coolers in a white corvette wearing a cheerleading uniform.
I am from love’s baby soft and horse manure, t-birds, thunderstorms screen doors, and porches.
I am from
no place like home.
If you want to write your own "Where I'm From Poem," start by brainstorming a list of significant details related to where you're from for 5-10 minutes—think of sounds, landmarks, smells, memories, joys, people, losses...Be as specific and personal as possible, letting anything come to mind. Use nicknames or words that only you or your family use. Don't worry about readers not knowing what you're talking about. That's what makes these poems so interesting, and therapeutic. Try not to censor yourself at this stage. You don't have to use every word on your list in the finished poem either.
Once you have your list of words, memories, and phrases, begin with "I am from...(then add something from your list) and from...(add another thing from your list.)"
Keep going until you feel you've painted a portrait of where you're from, with words.
If you prefer more structure, (or if you're a fan of MadLibs), you can use this template instead—or sign up for my 6-week transformative language arts class:
I am from ______________________________ (specific ordinary item) From ________________________ (product name) and __________________________ (product name) I am from the ______________________________________________ (home description) ___________________(adjective) , _________________(adjective) , ________________________________ (sensory detail) I am from _________________________________________ , (plant, flower, natural item) ________________________________________________________________________ (description of above item) I'm from ____________________________ (family tradition) and ______________________________ (family trait) From ______________________________ (name of family member) and _________________________ (another family member) I'm from the ____________________________ (description of family tendency) and ______________________ (another one) From _________________________________ (something you were told as a child) and ________________________ (another) I'm from ___________________________ (representation of religion or lack of), __________________________________ (further description) I'm from _______________________________________________ (place of birth and family ancestry) ______________________________________ (a food item that represents your family), ________________________________ (another one) From the ______________________________________________________________ (specific family story about a specific person and detail) The _________________________________________________________ (another detail of another family member) _________________________________________________________________ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives) __________________________________________________________________ (line explaining the importance of family items).
Please feel free to share your poems with me! firstname.lastname@example.org
And let me know if it's okay to publish!