Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Honoring our Elders

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, 
but they have never failed to imitate them.” 
― James Baldwin

“Treasure the wisdom of old age.
Learn from elder people and be wise.” 

― Lailah Gifty Akita

MC Amy Kietzman and Attendees at Honoring our Neighborhood Elders 
on April 11, 2015.  I cannot find a news story!!  
HERE is the link to Amy's well-annotated Facebook pictures. 

Midweek Motif ~ 
Honoring our Elders

On a West Philadelphia website called Honoring Our Neighborhood Elders, I found this explanation of an event that is now in its third year:  
We are a diverse and vibrant neighborhood. Our cycle of life needs to be fully celebrated, especially this generation of elders who are not connected to the internet and social media. Their stories need to be heard, their skills passed on, their accomplishments acknowledged and valued. Various neighborhood congregations, civic organizations and groups are coming together to do just that, to celebrate who we are by celebrating our elders.
Wonderful, right? Her volunteers interviewed each honoree and introduced them with parts of their life stories. 

Your Challenge: Choose an Elder to honor in a poem.  Make us feel we know her, him or they.

by Faith Shearin

They are taking so many things with them:
their sewing machines and fine china,

their ability to fold a newspaper
with one hand and swat a fly.

They are taking their rotary telephones,
and fat televisions, and knitting needles,

their cast iron frying pans, and Tupperware.
They are packing away the picnics . . . . 

(Read the rest HERE at The Writer's Almanac.)

excerpt from Indians Never Say Good-bye

. . . . 
When my mother and grandmother went to town, Ain’t Sally took me for a walk around her place. The farm had belonged to her relatives. We went down to the dry gorge and she pointed out all kinds of roots and trees. She asked me if I knew about the plants of the pasture. I said yes. I thought I was lying.
     As we walked farther from the house, I remember a hot gusty wind picked up her voice like dust tendrils on bedrock and blew it away from me. I ran to catch the sound. I found Ain’t Sally sitting on a granite rock.
     —Ala Tek. Indian girl.
     —Come and see, on our land, the four winds of the old days will blow through our hair.
     Then she tugged at my black braids.
     —Come and visit the Snakes, Ala Tek.
     —When I was your age they blew across this place like red dust devils on flat neutral plains.
     —Can you see them.
     —Do you hear the Snake People calling us?
. . . . 

(Read the rest HERE at The Poetry Foundation.)

Between my finger and my thumb  
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound   
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:   
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds   
Bends low, comes up twenty years away   
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills   
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft   
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.   
Just like his old man.
. . . . 
(Read the rest HERE at the Poetry Foundation)

For those who are new to Poets United:  Please share only new and original work.  Post your poem on your site and then link it here. Please leave a greeting and then visit and comment on our poems. 

Next week you are in for a treat! 
Our next Midweek Motif ~ Waves  is by 
Sumana Roy who has joined the Poets United team.  
Show up to give Sumana a huge welcome!

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  1. A wave hello (sorry, couldn't resist) to Sumana - well done on joining the team..i think you all know Alice by now - I guess it's up to debate if she is older and wiser...thank you for the prompt as ever..and if I don't get back to replies it's not personal - still struggling to get back on my feet...

    1. Sending energy, love and a total appreciation of your humor! The poems will be here whenever you are ready to read them, even years from now. Relax and keep on writing!

    2. Hello Jae, only keep writing dear friend, get well soon...just read your beautiful poem :)

    3. You won't be struggling for are brave and will be back on your feet in no time :)
      Lots of love

  2. Welcome to the team Sumana :D can't wait to share a poem for your prompt next week! Hello everyone,its Wednesday once again :D hope you all like my poem!

    Lots of love

    1. Good to see you, Sanaa, and to read your beautiful poem!

    2. aw...looking forward to your lines Sanaa, today's beautiful poem :)

    3. Loved your poem Sumana :D
      Its glorious!

  3. Whoops! I overslept BIG TIME I'll be around soonest, dear Poets United! It's good to see you here.

  4. A theme that is dear to my heart and one that we need to consider more as individuals, as family members and as members of a society that is becoming more and more youth-oriented...

    1. Amen. One of the things happening in the West Philly neighborhood that honors its elders is a trust and closeness that is hard to find. It is a blessing built over time.

  5. Good prompt Susan. I like honoring my elders. Am a little in denial that now the young ones see me as an elder too. Nice that Sumana is joining the team. Hope you still give us prompts too.

    1. Oh yes, Sumana Is starting with one a month and I hope we'll move up to simply alternating! I, too, realized that some saw me as an elder. Gosh.

  6. Sumana we are so excited for you and joining this wonderful team at Poets United.
    Im glad we have each other in this garden of poets to encourage (on days when we cant get up). Jae Rose we are sending you healing wishes.
    Susan a terrific prompt.

    Thanks to each of you for your inspiration and your friendship

    1. Thank you, too, Leslie for your loyalty, appreciation and brilliance!

    2. Thanks Leslie..Poets United is home to all of us, isn't it?....a bit late today...I'll make my rounds soon :)

  7. Hi kids, as always, I am Way Behind. Am staying at Sebastian's this week to look after he and the dogs while his mom is away, so I only have computer access during the middle part of the day - Not Enough Time, LOL. I havent even begin to read, never mind write to this prompt. Will try. Jae, rest well, my friend....somehow I always think of Alice as being young, like one's inner child, full of mischief.

    SUMANA! Welcome, my friend! We are so completely thrilled to have you join us. And waves are a perfect prompt, since I am in love with them. Kids, Sumana is featured next Monday as Blog of the Week. Do stop by to enjoy her spectacularly beautiful poems about grief and loss. They will hit your heart in a beautiful way.

    1. We'll be here for DAYS, Sherry. Take your time and then knock us out--but not literally. It's always fun anticipating what you'll bring--and always great being surprised.

    2. I am a bit late responding Sherry...Thanks a bunch dear friend :)

  8. Great news for everyone that Sumana is joining the team :) Great prompt this week too.

  9. Help! Dear Susan, please fix Mr Linky for me. On another site, I helped Marcantonio do a link that wasn't working for him — and forgot I had to change back to my own name for this link here! I enjoyed this prompt, and the wonderful poems you shared above.

    I too am thrilled Sumana is joining us, and I too wish good health to Jae. xx

    1. PS I have made it so the Marcantonio link goes nowhere and there's another to my poem. So it is now just a matter of removing the wrong link — but I don't have the access to do that.

    2. I've got you covered, Rosemary. How happy I am that you wrote to this prompt!

  10. Susan,

    I'm late with my poem, as I have been unwell. This cold UK weather, is taking its toll. Not very spring-like at all, this week. However, I have added my poem, which is very personal.
    Lovely to see that Sumana is joining the Poets United Team. She is a great supporter and encourager:)
    I shall visit all other poems, over the next few days,

    1. Yes, Eileen, come back and visit us when you are feeling healthy again. Let us warm that chilly air for you.

    2. sending you my best wish Eileen, get well soon dear friend...

  11. Greetings, Poets! Alas, I have written my poem. I may not be as prompt in responding as usual as I have visitors at the moment! What a good topic, Susan! And, of course, really looking forward to having Sumana as a team member!

    1. Fast is not required, Mary. It's good to see you whenever you arrive.


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