Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Stand Sure

[This week at Read Write Poem we were challenged to be a tree. Check out what other folks came up with here. And you can check on some tree poems I wrote before here and here and here. But today, I came up with something a little different. And for the record, in our family Loni is pronounced with a long "O" like lonely without the second "L".]

Stand Sure

My mother's mother's mother died
when Gramma was still little.
I don't know much about her
except from family stories and
one other thing. Great-Grandma Loni
was an Anderson.

When Gramma talked about the Andersons, she
meant Claude or Eva, or Pearl,
or Cousin Radah.
But before they were Midwest farmers,
the Andersons came from Scotland.

Midwest Loni didn't know
the Andersons' motto is "Stand Sure."
Farmer's Wife Loni didn't know the crest
is a great oak tree.
But I do.

I hold the Anderson crest pin and
my spine straightens
and my feet fit closer to the ground.
No bend-with-the-wind
willow for us.
We brace ourselves instead.

We stand firmly planted
as the four giant feet
of Paul Bunyan's big blue ox,
or the perfect anchor on
a tug-of-war team.

The oak's roots go deep, so maybe those are
buttery shortbread crumbs
in my pockets, and maybe those are
Scotch eggs lining my arteries.
My fifth-grade oboe didn't squeak,
it was the skirl of my ancestral bagpipe.

[You can find more info on Clan Anderson's symbols here, or check out the mottos for other clans here.]


Crafty Green Poet said...

The Scots get everywhere!

I particualrly like the ending to this poem

sister AE said...

hee! me too. Thanks, Juliet.

Laurence Mcbeth said...

Good piece..and funny..and I'm a Scot ( whose sister is married to an Anderson...from Paisley!)

Linda Jacobs said...

Love the word "skirl"! The whole poem is nicely done. It's hard to tell a story like this without getting too wordy but you managed!

sister AE said...

Does that make you "Cousin Laurence"? Glad you like it. It isn't part of my heritage I think about much but it is true.

sister AE said...

Hi, Linda. You should see what hit the "Cutting Room Floor"! And since skirl is usually used in the negative, I tried very hard to find a word that described the non-drone sound of the bagpipes in a positive way, but I failed!

...deb said...

Terrific work. I liked the image of the last stanza especially, and the way I read it meant that you were an oboe prodigy owing to your anscestry. Ha! I love the pipes.

sister AE said...

Ha! Thanks, ...deb. I'd love to say I was a prodigy, but I was mediocre at best. When I first started playing my older brother asked me if I was playing it or strangling it! I imagine the brothers of bagpipers ask the same thing.