Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I trace them; somewhere

I trace them
clear back to Jamestown—
of the grandfather
I knew little about

—Simply Haiku, Winter 2009, Vol. 7, No. 4

among mountain wildflowers 
like these
the grandfather I never met
both lived and died

—Modern English Tanka, Vol. 1, No. 1, Autumn 2006

Of course, these aren't "mountain wildflowers" (or, specifically, Colorado wildflowers) pictured above. The photo is one of a thinning summer field of blanketflower (that is, I think!) beside a winery not quite an hour's drive from us. Blanketflower, I've found, pop up "everywhere" around here, including along the ditches where we live. 

About the grandfather, my father's father: there's an interesting story or two related to my father's discovery of his whereabouts and death. 

sharing with Poets United, 7/21


  1. two very tender pieces - that work beautifully together. I love the intertwining of wild flowers and those who have passed - the impermanence yet abiding nature of life.

  2. I enjoyed your comment, Wendy - thanks!

  3. The coriopsis in your photo doesn't look at all like the plant we have growing in our garden. The flowers are coming all from one plant, shrub-like and have yellow petals attached to a dark center.

    I like the two tanka about your grandfather.


  4. Thanks, Adelaide. I think I was having a senior moment. I'm relatively sure the flowers are blanketflower, and I'm not sure why I suddenly thought they were coreopsis. (I did try growing blanketflower from seed and wasn't successful, though they're apparently supposed to be easy to grow.) So, I've corrected my post! Hopefully someone will let me know if I'm still wrong! ;)

  5. Beautiful! I had one grandfather I barely knew, and one I never met. A lot of us reach a point in our lives where we want to know about our ancestors, love how you compare this need to "mountain wildflowers".

  6. Your poems make me long for the story of that grandfather. Beautiful!

  7. def a story in each of these...particularly like the second...interesting to think on our lineage...all my grands but one was dead by the time i was moms side by the time i was 5...only vague rememberences of them...

  8. thanks, lisa, sherry, brian!

  9. I never met my grandparents so this struck a chord. Family history is always fascinating.

  10. thanks for stopping by, TALON. I see that quite a few others can relate to not meeting or knowing their grandparents.

  11. I love the ease and flow of your verse--and you are right--there is a story in each of these--really lovely Janet

  12. Janet, These make a good pair, but I like the first one better because it is an idea I've been working on. A few lines from a poem still in draft:
    . . .linking a chain
    to enclose those newly lost, as if we could hug their
    shadows by reaching past them.
    You've said it so concisely. May I use this first poem in a blog post of my own on "freethoughtandmetaphor"? With full credit of course.
    Ellen Young

  13. Thanks, Audrey!

    Thanks, Ellen - and, yes, sure! I look forward to reading your entire poem sometime.