Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Ancestress, a poem

My Ancestress
(New Year’s Eve 2010)

They say she lived in a cave
Dark, likely with bats.
Her mystical, not of this world
And me, practical as dirt.
Yet finally something resonates inside
At the same wavelength
On which she travelled so long ago
And I think the one word
That never sat familiar on my tongue-

I wonder did they chase her there?
Somehow I doubt it.
A witchy woman is never chased.
She chose her cave.
I see her hair long and tangled
Maybe a cursory look would uncover sticks
Brought from the southern reaches
From where she came
To the icy northern land
In search of freedom.
The opposite trip from mine, though
Exactly identical too.

I’m happy to know that somewhere
In my cellular make-up
A strand of feral, feminine DNA
Untainted and pure,
Hiding in the powerhouse
Of the cells, of my body
Belongs to her.
Perhaps the essence of us both.
I hope.
I wish.

Her bits make me want to look behind
From where I come,
The place I fled.
Where everything was unfamiliar
And strange.
She has sent out a torch light
For me alone, I think
Over generations and time, over distances.
And for the first moment, I am connected
No longer floating untethered.


Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Lovely! Gave me goosebumps. Especially loved the last three lines; they were beautiful!

Judy (South Africa)

Lauri said...

Really Judy? You can't know how happy that comment makes me feel.

I'm not really a poet but I wrote this after my sister spent some time with my elderly uncle over the holidays and he told her there was a woman from their side of the family, many generations back, who was a witch and lived in a cave. Not sure why that caught me but it did.

Elle Carter Neal said...

I agree; it's really beautiful. I love this:

"Her mystical, not of this world
And me, practical as dirt."

It's such a clever contrast with "dirt" being less expected than "earth" or "ground" would've been.

You should try poetry more often :-)


Lauri said...

Thanks Elsa that's kind of you to say. We'll see. I have some poetry exercises I vowed to do. Maybe after I get back.

Anonymous said...

I really like this because it relates quite strongly to something I feel about my own ancestry. I can't really put it into words but there is a connection to something otherworldly and mystical at the back of my psyche. You have put voice to that connection in a beautiful way. Absolutely brilliant!

Lauri said...


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