Day 9: Who We Were | #NaPoWriMo2018

I decided to go back to April 9, to the Pilgrimage prompt, and wander a bit through the family tree. My mother was a genealogist, among other things, and we kids got to do research, each in our turn.

Who We Were
[still a rough draft]

Our people came from Iowa
by way of the Norman invasion,
Mayflower I and II, the Winthrop Fleet
by way of rivers on diverse craft
neighbors with neighbors
towns moving together

They arrived in the Firelands
then settled in Iowa and
opened South Dakota—farms
were lost behind the dam, so
back to small-town Iowa

Penneys went into retail, catalog sales
A connection of “our” Bennetts sent
Stanley to find Livingston
the Deans made sausage, and the
Gallops (Kolopp, from Alsace) took polls

The grocery store owner in
South Dakota patented a plow
the Carters served in India
as Methodist missionaries
Evangeline Ink wrote an exposé
novel about TB camp swindles

My generation and the next have been
lawyers, executives, freelancers, clerks
writing and publishing books,
poetry. textbooks, and many stories
nurses caring for the injured and elderly,
builders, handcrafters, quilters,
artists, musicians

Myself, I grow wild flax
in the backyard garden, take naps
with the puppy dogs, make up recipes
and do the laundry, play piano, and
hold my husband close to my heart

I read only as many books in a week
as I write poems, a photo for most
no children, but a library
gathered over a lifetime
determined to leave no book unread…
always buying more

There’s always time to write a poem…
time to read a book

Copyright © 2018-04-10, by Elizabeth W. “Lizl” Bennefeld.

Also, my mother, who died in November 2016, asked me to write a poem introducing the second genealogy book (covering 1900 to about 2000): My Great-Grandparents: Jonathan Owen and Elizabeth Ann Dean and Their Descendants (published in 2004, by Rhoda and her daughter Christine.)

These stories just contain
The skeletons of lives begun.
If you could see them
Through the eyes of God—
What glories as they dance
Full fleshed and glowing
down the flood of years,
Short and long,
Growing more radiant
With each soul they’ve touched,
Befriended, cheered, encouraged,
Solaced or listened to in
Loving silence—
Then you would see
The full, true stories
Of these folks God Loves,
And love them, too.

Elizabeth Wicker Bennefeld, Copyright © ~2003, by author (published in Rhoda Berry’s book in 2004).

About Elizabeth

Writer, poet, photographer, omnivorous reader, and observer of life.
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