Sunday, April 15, 2018

MY GRANDMOTHER

 My grandmother with my daughter. (1974)
  She raised me.  Also, took care of my daughter for two years.


When I was twenty something
I stopped wearing a bra.
It was symbolically burned
as sign of liberation.
I attended groups to raise
my consciousness enough
to never be like her,
a woman with no liberal aspirations.

When she was in her twenties
she worked in order to feed
four children, the burden
her husband ignored while he
drank his earnings with whores.
After the fire, that killed
one of her kids, she suffered more.
Until she raged against the condemnration
of a woman who fought against her own subjugation.
She left her little country, her husband too,
to work, to save, to establish new rules
in a different world where she was almost a slave.
But she forced her family's transformation.

When I knew her, she was a housewife
who took care of grandkids like me.
Her husband, now sober, worked responsibly. 
He loved her.

I loved her too, but in my twenties,
in my ignorance, my arrogance
I judged she knew nothing about
the struggle to be free. 


(I read this poem on a local radio station yesterday at the request of some friends.  I couldn't come up with a new one today, so I thought I'd reprint it here.  
Wishing everyone a peaceful, happy week.) 

23 comments:

  1. Sometimes you just don't know what someone has gone through before they get to you. In our twenties we are not expected to know these things. They are learned with time.

    Myrna, I enjoy your posts. I'm not sure if my comments come through to you. I have made a couple, but they don't show up on the site. Just wanted to say hello and leave a few words in case you do see them.

    I feel like maybe your grandmother would have sheltered you from some of the past because for you to be unaware of those struggles would mean she really had made it to freedom. Encouraging to hear about her husband too. Now sober. Those are powerful words. He loved her too. Wow.

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  2. Absolutely took my breath away.....I too judge harshly when I was young and still today sometimes!

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  3. Our grandmothers were stronger than we ever knew. I think they are why we grew so strong ourselves. I love that you read this on the radio!

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  4. I am so glad that you couldn't think of another poem. This one is stunning, and I am grateful to read it.
    Initial judgements are so often wrong. And all too often negative.

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  5. This is so poignant! Sometimes we judge too quickly and forget to consider the other person's perspective.💜

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  6. great write... it points out something that every generation goes through... we don't appreciate those that came before us and what they dealt with...it takes some life experience to improve our hindsight sometimes

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  7. I love this...it reminds me of a poem that I wrote for my mother...when we are young we don't understand their strength and how truly remarkable they are. I feel bad now that I had judged some choices that she made. I no longer judge....I now know.

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  8. A great woman- your grandma. We think we know it all when you're young.

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  9. Wonderful writing! You have drawn this poetic portrait of your grandmother with love and tenderness.

    I remember that time, when I was in my 20's as being very turbulent. We questioned and we challenged so many of the values that had been handed down to us. Perhaps that process was, occasionally, tinged with an element of disdain for some of the old codes of conduct. But I do believe we wouldn't have become the people that we are, if we hadn't passed through that place of turmoil.

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  10. Wow, what a strong woman your grandmother is, we can learn so much from the elderly in the family.

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  11. Mea culpa ! And now I look back with regret at my own arrogance and realise that my grandmother was right about almost everything.I am so pleased you acknowledged your Grandma on radio and in print. A beautiful tribute for a wonderful woman.

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  12. Really powerful. I think when we are in our 20's we think that we know everything. Later on we question what we thought we knew & find out we weren't as wise then as we thought. I love this portrait of your grandmother. She is a woman to be admired!

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  13. this is a great tribute. i think each generation, because of the times they are in, have their unique strengths and problems.
    i once overheard a young boy telling his grandmother, "grandma, do you know anything?", i wanted to tell the kid, the old lady probably survived the horrors of WWII, independence movements, riots, financial crisis, as well as bring up her children, but you only know the games in your handheld console.

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  14. Wonderfully written..the last few lines are just too good! Would have loved to hear it read aloud.

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  15. What an accomplishment to read out on the radio - great work!

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  16. thank you for publishing this. remarkable. ah, the rosy perspective of youth...

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  17. There are few wise 20 year olds. Wisdom takes time.

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  18. Ignorance and arrogance are such stumbling blocks to forming deep and lasting relationships. Fortunately, it is possible to put both aside.

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  19. What a wonderful poem. Only with the passing of years can we appreciate the strength and wisdom of those who came before.

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  20. It's too easy to think we know everything there is to know about a family member's life, especially if we see them every day. And most 20 year olds can't imagine their elders as being anything beyond what they see on the surface. But thankfully, wisdom does come in time.

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  21. You capture both irony and admiration in this portrait that links the two of you! Beautiful.

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  22. It's a wonderful poem, one I am very glad to have read. And I hope you may write her life story in prose some day.

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