Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

Archive for the ‘GwenGuin’ Category

The Portal In My Front Yard- Pt. II

with 3 comments

The Portal In My Front Yard- Pt. II


As we sat over dinner, the conversation fell to everyday things; when to hunt, was the stream drying up, would the harvest hold them through the winter.  It was after this that the Shaman rose and motioned me to follow him along a rough, dim passageway deeper into the mountain.


We passed lovely cave paintings, deer rendered with consummate grace, the wolfdogs were chasing a herd of shaggy buffalo closer to hunters, whose every line was taut with waiting.


A group of women bent to the harvest with love and gratitude to the Great Mother.  A startlingly real lion snarled from a shadow, so alive I had to pause and admire it further.


“Oh this is beautifully rendered!!”  I couldn’t help but follow the lines with a wondering fingertip.


There were small bowls, painstakingly chipped and rubbed smooth from stone, each with a different earth-toned paint in them.  I dipped a fingertip in one and drew the eyes of an owl, and then I added the beak, the sleek form of a perched owl, and a sturdy branch for him to perch on.


“Yes, your ancestress painted some of these, and her mothers before her.  I see you know of your Spirit Guides.”


“Yes, Owl came to me when I was born.”


“Come with me, I have much to show you before morning.  Your familiars have caught up with us, and now they will not get lost.”


I followed him to a small room carved into the stone, just large enough for the two of us to sit cross-legged on the floor with a tiny fire between us.  Pye and Skye each claimed a portion of my lap and settled for a snooze.


He began to hum, forcing the air to resonate on his sinuses, I joined in; when my cats felt my humming they began to purr to the rhythm of the Shaman.


I could feel myself slipping into a light trance and I let it happen; the Shaman spoke without words: “For you to continue, you must know how your kind came to be.”


I began to see images, slowly focussing and growing closer.  I was on a lovely, large tropical island, and there were two distinct forms of humanoids, there were the cavemen-type, standing straight and proud.


 I was closer to the second kind, tall, smooth skinned, and clothed in flowers, grey-blue tattoos and a woven skirt in the shades of a tropical sunset.  I wore necklaces, bracelets and anklets made of shells and coral, with pearls scattered amongst them.  As I moved through the throngs of people the shells clinked together making a quiet tune to my movements.  


We were on the shore, where enormous canoes of tree trunks, woven lashings and tar rode the waves with comfortable grace.  They were decorated with garlands of flowers, woven so closely together that the petals of one blossom crowded the next.  Their sails were painted with sigils of protection and signs of peace large enough to be seen from a great distance.


I was handed into the largest canoe, with a mixed crew of the cavemen types sitting on either side of me.  A great portion of the canoe was taken up by foodstuffs, both for the coming journey and as gifts for the people where we going to. There were living animals tethered in another canoe, and a third was heavy with the handiwork of the people.


Carvings, painted wooden plaques, shell and stone jewellery were neatly stacked along with woven platters, bowls and colourful screens.  Piles of brightly dyed, soft, woven cloth painted rainbows in the belly of another canoe.  There were some bowls, cups and mortars with pestles smoothed from stone in yet another canoe. 


The journey was begun; the crew and I sang songs to the stars as we rowed across an ocean of impossibly blue depths, and lazy swells were pushing us toward our goal.  More often than not, the wind was in our favour and we could hoist sail and tend the canoes themselves.


Gradually the weather became rougher, and the water coldly green; we passed a headland and breathed a sigh of relief for we knew the most dangerous part of our journey had been passed.  The skies cleared and the water changed again, now a lovely deep green, warm and beckoning.


Soon a smudge appeared on the horizon, after three days of rowing we could see the island, surrounded by an almost impenetrable brackish marsh.  We were met by one of the tall, smooth-skinned humanoids, a handsome, passionate man commanding a seemingly gigantic craft of his own.  The sturdy wooden sides were carved and painted with complex symbols and the Matrons of the ship were carved, painted and set onto the prow of every ship.


He and I spoke at some length, about the time being short and this would be the last chance for ‘them’ to stay.  Those that had come to love the cavemen and their world as I had, didn’t want to leave this world and travel to one we did not know, not even though we had been assured that we would be welcomed.


He agreed, and said that he would gather those that did not want to leave, and they would follow us to the island I called ‘home’.  Within two days there was a fleet of some dozen boats, all dwarfing my beloved flotilla of canoes.  At last the man that I had spoken with reappeared, with the final two craft.


We spoke again in length, and at last agreed that if the commanders and crew of the other vessels took some of the natives of ‘my’ island to wife or husband, their acceptance would come more easily to his people, by my people.


I agreed, and the men of his people asked how they would need to take my people to wife; I explained that they would need to pay a bride-price to her family and then ‘steal’ her in a ritual that culminated with their wedding feast.


The women asked how they could tell a man of my people that they desired to be taken as his bride.  I explained about how a bride’s value was determined by what she could bring into the marriage.  A woman showed a man the many things she could bring to the marriage, all of them made by her hand.  She showed these to the man she desired, and then, if he desired her, he would speak to her family about the bride-price.


Most women’s’ bride-prices were in goods, servants, and property; a very, very few were valuable enough to merit not only the usual price, but an additional price to be paid to the bride herself in precious stones, metals, and such.


I watched happily through the return journey as my men took the other women to wife, and the women of my people promised to show their goods to one man or another of the shining ones.  Soon, the crews were no longer separate peoples, but one crew spanning many vessels.


Through all of this I desired the commander of the fleet I led to my home, the first man that had met us at his island.  I did not offer to show him my goods, for I was sure he desired another woman, one both lovelier and younger than I.


Each day I expected to be asked to arbitrate their marriage, which I would do gladly for the love of them and of our people.  We were counting the days until we would see my home shining in the sweet seas; the shining ones had nearly ceased to think of themselves as different, and were gradually becoming native in their lifestyle and values.


The first time a shining one was swimming and was greeted joyously by a dolphin was perhaps my happiest day.  It was the first time I had seen wonder on an shining one’s face, and the joy on all of their faces as an enormous pod, almost 200 strong, of dolphins led our fleet across the blue waters, were like a heady drug for me and I stood in my canoe, singing to the dolphins in the natives’ language.  The dolphins’ easy acceptance of the shining ones augured well for the success of this journey.


My home was a cloud on the horizon when we saw the flames of the shining ones’ people that were returning home, their airships rose impossibly high and then joined the stars in the heavens.  Everyone sang a song of farewell as the airships disappeared.


After this we were impatient to reach our home and feel solid ground beneath our feet again.    The crew was impatient, and redoubled their efforts to gain the shore soon.  As I sat in my canoe, and read the skies for direction the commander of the fleet sidled his personal vessel close to mine and bade me join him in his quarters.


After I had boarded his vessel, and greeted many of the crew, we wthdrew to his quarters; he bade me sit upon his hammock and he sat beside me.  He started speaking slowly, with a few false starts;  “I hope this will not offend you…” He ran shaking fingers through his hair.


“I have been watching you through this voyage, and now I must ask this of you.  Would you tell me your bride-price, that I may win you as my own.”


He opened a small, ornate chest and held a handful of shimmering golden chains, bracelets and suchlike out to me.  “This I will pay to you, and everything I have I will offer to your family when we have arrived home.”


My heart sang so that I could not speak for a moment, and I had to swallow many times before I could force any words out.  “I am shocked, I had long ago expected you to ask for someone else.”


“Am I not offering enough?”  He sounded genuinely hurt.


“It is not that.  I have no bride-price, for I have no family to ask it of.  I have been an orphan since I was born, and was raised by everyone.”  I covered my face to hide my shame.


“I knew your sire, he was the first of us to take a native to wife.  He was driven out of the shining ones’ for this, and sought shelter among the natives.”  He lifted my face and smiled.  “Among shining ones, your bride-price would be one of the highest, for your father was founder of both the shining ones’ island and your island.  I only dared ask your bride price because my father also founded the shining ones’ island.”


“I will be honoured to show you my goods when we reach Lemuria.”  I kissed both of his cheeks and smiled back at him.  We returned to the deck and as soon as the crew saw the chain around my neck they began shouting and cheering.


The next evening we arrived at Lemuria, and everyone poured onto the beach to welcome us.  Fathers greeted new sons-in-law and mothers clasped new daughters-in-law to their chest, all of this done with noisy laughter, a great deal of embracing, and more than a few tears of happiness.


I stood on the beach of home and watched my ‘family’ grow larger by the second and I felt I should glow with happiness.  When everyone was beckoned towards a feast that was cooking in giant pits of glowing coals and in kettles on the edges of the fire I joined them, laughing, dancing and singing along the path to the village.


The feast lasted until almost dawn, with stories of the Journey being shared and performed around the fire-pit.  As many of the people retired to their homes I approached the Matron of our people.


I asked her permission to show my beloved my many goods.  I also showed her the golden chain I wore around my neck and told her of the chest full of such things he had offered to me.


“Tell your young man that your bride price will be this:  I ask him to send his ships around the world to seed oour people everywhere, but.”  She held up a hand to silence me.


“He must remain here, with you, to become the leaders of our people.  Together, man and woman as it is meant to be.  With you as the next Matron I can go easily to the stars, knowing that my family will be cared for with love and honour.  Now. Show your mate your goods, as I saw you come from his quarters on his ship, I could tell that he has already taken you to wife.”


In the years that followed my mate and I watched the population of our island grow great enough for seeding many times.  Each time we sent another boat filled with those to seed our world with the children of the shining ones we did so with joyous songs and days long celebrations.


Although I never brought a child to our union my mate and I were happy in the knowledge that we were doing the best for our combined peoples, and our adopted world.  We would never know if our ‘seeding’ flourished or no, we could only pray that it was so.


After many years my mate returned to the stars and as I sang his body to the deeps my spirit knew that he and I would meet again one day, and that we would know the joy of our bond once again.


I came back to the little stone room, and felt the tears soaking my face, yet I did not feel sad, but blessed to know my beginnings on our world.


“I need not ask if you saw what you needed to, I can see that you did.”  The Shaman reached out, caught one teardrop on a fingertip and kissed it reverently.

To be continued:



The Elder Spirit of the Gwen Guin

with 4 comments

My first spirit animal was found at a very precocious ahe.

My first spirit animal was found at a very precocious ahe.

I was given my first Spirit Guide at the tender age of 1 month old.  To this day, over 49 years later, my Mum still swears up and down that I have awakened to the Tonight show, and gone to sleep when Sesame Street starts.
Hence, I was called “The Night Owl”, (is there any other kind?), and this particular owl really suits me!!
Even with my glasses on, I see the world through a soft fog, and view the world in a lopsided manner.  As far as standing on one leg, I am still a restless stander.  I may be able to sit still, but stand?  No way Jose!!
Anywhoo, I am still a creature of night, preferring to hibernate the days away in my dim and cushioned nestie.  The owl is also the symbol of ESP, wisdom, insight, and night-time, all of which are things I am interested in and study; or try to attain as in the case of wisdom.
Silent flier, creature of the night,
Sailing through beams of moonlight.
Is that a mouse, or perhaps larger prey?
What do your golden eyes see,
In such a shadowed world?
Things unseen, unknown to daylight?

Written by gwenguin1

July 18, 2008 at 10:01 am

The Portal In My Front Yard

with 3 comments

I went for a walk in my front yard, having my digital camera in one hand and digital video camera in the other.  There is a path of stepping-stones from the front porch to the ‘Alleged Cow Skull’-which is a whole ‘nother story for some other time.


This time I went out and noticed one in a straggling row of identical stones looked different, I couldn’t describe it, but it looked a little odd.   Of course, being a nosey parker, I had to go investigate.  As I got closer there seemed to be a shadow where there shouldn’t be one.  By the time I was standing on the stone next to the weirdo, I was very intrigued.


As I looked at it, it started growing, yes!  Growing!!  Soon it was large enough for even someone as round as I am to fit into comfortably, with a ‘what the hey’ shrug I carefully lifted the stone.


It weighed far less than I expected, no more than a fibreglass auto hood, something anyone could raise easily.  There was a tunnel under it, disappearing into darkness.  There was a spiral staircase leading down in to the shadows.


I popped back in the house and grabbed a flashlight, water and a couple bags of snacks; adventuring is hungry and thirsty work you see.  Pye and Skye were determined to go with me, despite being complete indoor cats.  The closest they get to the wilds is smelling the bottoms of our shoes.


So, there we went, slowly, with lots of stops for sniffings; once the light had begun to fade away I turned on my flashlight.  Then I could see the bottom of the stairway, a ring of seemingly identical doorways, carved out roughly.


I peeked in the first door, and backed away when I smelt a dreadful stench.  The second door was drip-drip-dropping, and there was a forest of stalactites and stalagmites stretching past my view.


The next doorway opened into a cave, with bed-like shelves carved in the walls, curtains made of animal hides, tanned to velvet perfection.  A fire burned by the far wall, which had doorways, and one of those showed an outdoor scene of surreal loveliness.


A desert scenario it most certainly wasn’t!  There were dense evergreens climbing a steep hillside, high-country grasses, and as a stunning backdrop, the green expanse of an enormous glacier.  I saw a movement, and two people entered the cave from a side doorway, ringed in handprints of rich red ochre.


“Ah, you are finally here!”  The male formed motioned to me to come over.  When I moved forward the cats stick close to my side, and their eyes checked everything out with great interest.


“I see that your familiars heard the call as well as you.  This is even better than I hoped!”  I knew that the man was not speaking any recognisable language, yet I clearly understood him.


“I am your very distant past, and you were called here deliberately.  There is something you need to find; it somewhere between my time, and your era.  I do not know what it is, I just know that you must find it.”


“Dear, can you not let the Lady sit to hear the whole tale?  She will be on her feet enough in her Search.”  The woman spoke, she was blessed with a beautiful alto voice, full of gentleness and humour.


“Ach!  I am so sorry my dear.  I was just so excited at the prospect of meeting a descendant I forgot my manners!”  The man motioned to an artful pile of furs, perfect for settling in for a long chat.


“Okay, you said I need to find an unknown something, in some other time than mine or yours.  Do any of us know why this is necessary?”  I pushed my glasses up my nose, and patted the furs as an invitation for Pye and Skye.


After a thorough and thoughtful smelling of the furs, Skye settled in, so picturesque against the black wolf skin.  Pye wasn’t quite ready to settle, so he contented himself by doing battle with the leg of a bearskin.


At that moment some other people entered the cave from outside, carrying a freshly killed something-or-other.  Trotting at their heels was a very wolfish pack of dogs, all yodelling excitedly.


Pye and Skye stood together hugely a-fluff and ready to fight these… these… canines!  Me, being a Universal Mom, stood in front of my cats, to defend them.


The Alpha female stepped forward, and sniffed me, and the air, and them she returned to the pack, her dugs swollen with milk.  She wuffed once, and a tumbling pack of fur separated into a pile of fat puppies, headed to Mom for some dinner.


I couldn’t help but chuckle and say to myself, “Plus ça change, plus ç’est la même chose.”


“Yes. Quite.”  How in the name of all the Gods that ever were and ever will be did this… this… caveman understand modern French?!  Yes he was every inch a caveman, and nothing like they show on TV or in movies.


All of them were blessedly well groomed, and not one of them had an odour.  One of the women was busily rubbing what seemed to be chalk dust into a stain on a fur garment.  When she finished shaking the dickens out of it, she picked up a dried teasel seedpod and began to brush the fur with it.


When all of the stain was gone, and the fur shone, she nodded her head decisively and sat that fur to one side.  She picked up another and I could see her sighing from all the way over where I was sitting.


“That must be her husband’s fur!  I recognise that, ‘How does he manage to do this?’ sigh.”


The woman laughed and spoke to the woman frowning down at the fur.  “This is your husbands’ sleeping fur, isn’t it Daryea?”


The woman laughed, and then spoke.  “Yes, how could you tell?”


It seems that some things shall always be the same!”


“Excuse me Callyea?”


“Our guest has been telling us of the future.”


“She has?  How does she know?”  Daryea edged closer, her deep-set brown eyes alight with curiosity.


She is the one we sought.”


“Ohhh…  May I have the honour of serving her?”

“I would expect none other to be capable of serving her properly.”

To be continued…

Written by gwenguin1

July 18, 2008 at 9:32 am

Another Collaborative Post

with 8 comments

My friend, Shiloh, (you remember Shiloh, right?) introduced me to some challenging and lovely forms of the art of Haiku,   It started with her asking if I had ever heard of a Chain Lanturne Haiku.  After she showed me her writing. I suggested we each write a chain on the same general subject, since Shiloh had already written one, I followed the basic imagery she created and went from there.

We researched the form at the following links:,%20Tanka,Lantern,Chain%20Lanter

Poets and Poetry

Shadow Poetry — Resources — Haiku and Senryu


So, with all of this crowding about and vyiing for your attention, here are our attempts.


black and
yellow body,
settles on red

brilliant red
petals swirling

ere night falls,
petals close in,

near full moon,
silver blossoms’
Gwen M. Myers 


on a yellow

sets, pink,
orange paint the

a new day
with a pearly

open, a
yellow jacket

falls, the
rose gently
closes. Pleasant

orb hanging
o’er high mountain

Shiloh Cannon Blackburn.

May 25, 2008

You can also see Shiloh’s post at:


I hope you enjoy both posts, and want to come back for more!!

Written by gwenguin1

May 27, 2008 at 2:54 am

An Iris for Kerry

with 6 comments

Seeing the photos of Kerry’s Irises reminded me of the Irises I grew in Oregon, I miss them so.  All of them, but one in particular.


This rhizome (root) was mixed in with a bed of the Blue Flag irises, and my friend, Bella, gave them to me.  All I had to do was dig them up and transfer them to my flowerbeds.


I waited impatiently for next spring (from late summer) and the ‘Time of the Irises’.  At last, the Irises rose above the soil, with their leaves like giant blades of grass waving in the late spring-early summer breezes.


Then came the flower stalks themselves, each one reaching for the sun.  The buds appeared, each with their crinkling, brown papery coat.  I watched as the colours began to clarify.  Mostly lavender and purple, with a couple Sapphire Blue ones tossed in randomly.


At last!!!  One lone stalk shaded darker from burgundy-purple, and I knew I had my Black Iris!!  I was delighted, and so was my husband, he must have been, he went out and took photos of it.


My one Black Iris plant


So Kerry dear, an Iris to share with you.

Written by gwenguin1

May 25, 2008 at 2:26 am

Views Around the Old Homestead

with 10 comments

Mum has taken to walking around the house for exercise and I try to walk with her.  I, of course, take either one or both of my cameras along.

Hanging on our front patio in the early afternoonThis is one of the views from our front patio, early in the evening.  We have yet to use the hanging lanterns, but oh!!  I love the sound of wind chimes!


The Overgrown BougainvilleaI have come to love the willy-nilly, thorny growth of this bougainvillea.  The blooms are lovely when they are backlit by the sun, there are times of the year that the entire bush is covered in the papery blossoms in their fade-resistant pink.


Even with vigilant pruning these can take over, never mind our “it’ll still be there later” gardening mindset.  There have been times we have had to move the branches out of our way on the front patio, which is 8 feet wide.



The Twisty TreeThis is a tree by the office where I apply for food stamps, I like the way that the branches writhe around each other.


Sun Through the TreeSame tree, much closer this time, with the sun peering through the leaves.


The Wee BirdiesWe had a brief rain squall last Friday, and I went out to take pictures of the clouds, when I circled ‘round to the front of the house I spied these wee birdies taking shelter from the wild winds.


The Mountain In The eastAfter all this time, I am still fascinated by the mountains, Michigan had no’real’ mountains, they got shaved away by a glacier in the last Ice Age.  Every time I stop and look at this particular mountain, I am reminded of an early Rush song’s lyrics.


“Yet my eyes are drawn towards

The mountain in the East.

It fascinates and captivates.

And gives my heart no peace.”


     The Fountain of Lamneth © 1975 Lee, Lifeson, and Peart


And yes, this mountain is due east if our little nestie.



Surprise!]I have been busily sorting, and cataloguing books to go into storage (5 boxes of ‘em) and in the midst of what is actual work I ran across a book that wouldn’t close properly.  When I opened it to the gap, I found these Mexican Bird of Paradise blossoms I had pressed years ago.  What a sweet thing to find while I am boxing books.


Oh, and, I have not catalogued the books that are staying in my room, nor have I catalogued the sixteen larger boxes of books already in storage!!  Did I mention that I am a bookworm?  Hahahahahhaahaha!!!


Words and Images © 2008, Gwen M. Myers

Written by gwenguin1

May 22, 2008 at 3:06 am

Of Our Bobbie Jo

with 13 comments

This was written in response to the ‘Saddest Words’ prompt on


Once Upon a time, I was married, and loved my husband’s family as I do my blood kin.  Some of them were easier to love than others, my husband’s sisters Kathy and Melanie I still call one another sisters and our love grew, deeply and permanently.  From each of them I was blessed with a beautiful, loveable niece.


Our Kathy lived near my husband and I in Corvallis, Oregon with her sons, Brian and Brandon, and her daughter Roberta Joliene (Bobbie Jo).  Brandon and Bobbie were of school age and I watched Bobbie after Kindergarten at my house. 


Bobbie and I had wonderful times together, puddle-jumping, cooking, and other such delights filled our afternoons.  I called her, “Ma Petite.” , and I became ‘Aunt Bear’., I wondered why she called me that until the day she tried her best to wrap child-sized arms around my Earth Mother hips, looked up at me from adoring green eyes and said, “I call you my Aunt Bear, do you know why?”


“No, ma petite, I don’t know.  Why do you call me your Aunt Bear?”

“Because huggung you is like hugging a teddy bear!!”  She squeezed as tightly as she could, and I hugged her back.


“Oh thank you sweetie!!”  I managed to say this around the lump filling my throat.


Bobbie had been the flower girl at my wedding, and my husband caught this utterly darling photo of her:

The Perfedt lower Girl



Time does what it does best and passed, Kathy moved back to her beloved New York, I separated from my husband and returned to Arizona; Bobbie and Brandon grew up.


Kat and I kept in touch over the years, we have now been friends for over 30 years and will most likely be friends until we return to the First Home of All Souls.  Kat has not had an easy life by any road, and last year she was dealt the cruellest blow any mother could suffer.


In August of 2007, at the age of 18, Bubbie Jo passed away suddenly, leaving a silent, aching void behind.


All grown up?


So young, pretty, and loving; far too soon to be taken from her family and friends.

Unwilling farewell


Last weekend I dreamed of our Bobbie Jo, as she was when I was her Aunt Bear.  She came to me and asked a gift of me, one I must do, although in my heart I would not do it .  She held my hand, suffused with love and trust and  asked this simple gift of me.


“Let me go.”

So now, although I still weep and hear her voice in my heart; the hand of my spirit opens, and Bobbie Jo flies; bright and happy into the arms of All-Mother, who holds her in love and tenderness until we shall meet again.


And I, I must say the saddest words;


“Good-bye, ma Petite, and Gods’peed to you.”

Written by gwenguin1

May 16, 2008 at 5:09 am

My Identity Poem

with 10 comments

Seeking the Identity of a GwenGuin 

And all that is bright 

I am from:

Needlework baskets

By the women’s’ chairs,

And United Auto Workers’ founders.

I grew up on stories of my

Grandmother DeShaw

Passing meals through the windows

Of the

Buick Powerhouse to my

Grandfather during

The sit-down strikes

Demonstrating the power of a

United workforce. 

I am from the two-story

Farmhouses of the

Northern Mid-West,

Built with sheltered doorways

So you could still

Get out of your house despite

‘Lake Effects Snow’

And windblown drifts up to the

Bedroom windows of the upper floor.

I am from rows of gleaming jars

Filled with the spiced crab apples,

Pickled red beets, and

Pickled Ring Bologna made from

Recipes passed on for


I am from the Great Lakes,

In all their moods and seasons;

I am from coming to love the

Sonoran Desert

For her determination,

Adaptability and passion.

I am from standing

On the shore of the

Pacific Ocean,

Wondering how many millions of

Others she touched too; and

I am from having

Crater Lake

Burned upon the retina of my memory. 

I grew up with

Sunday Dinner after Mass,

And dimples dancing with

Everyone’s’ smiles and words:

I am descended of

‘Big Joe’ DuBay,

Hyachinthe Charlesbois’

And the Compeaus

Of Compeau Blvd.,

In Detroit, Michigan

I am from

Daughters of the American Revolution,

And family that have given some

And all

For the U.S.A.

In all of the

Wars this country has fought. 

I am from

Libraries of books

And music

In every home,

Cards and dice that have been

Handed down for generations.

I pass on the photographs and

Verbal tradition of generations past,

I share the songs that defined

So many childhoods.

I am from radios tuned to



Country and Western,

The Blues,


All flavours of Rock and Roll,

And more. 

I am defined by being

Happy and grateful

To be able to help others,

And seeing family

As not determined

By genetics alone;

I am carrying on

The tradition of wanting

To do good

For the sake of doing good.

I am from treating others

With kindness and respect,

And celebrating differences

Instead of fearing them. 

I am from the love of

Reading and learning, and

Love of laughter that has

Helped all of us survive

The worst times in out lives.

I share my respect

Of the written word with









Nieces and Nephews;

All of us learned

To love beauty in all her forms,

And express that love in our own ways. 

I am from being

Unashamed to cry

At the touching parts of a



Or song,

As well as being comfortable

With cheering with joy.

I am from settling on the floor

To play with kids

On their level,

And loving pets like children

Without forgetting

They are animals. 

I am from

Lessons the needed no words


“Gwen, don’t do anything to another

Living creature if you don’t want

It done to you.”

“Oh, Gwen Marie! 

 You are so


I am so proud to be

Your Mother.” 

I am from Catholic family reunions,

Always so large,

They had to be held in a

Rented hall because

No-one’s house could ever

Hope to hold everyone!

I am from the


Dinners that were


After Mass;

With two kinds of

Meat, and




And Breads with butter,

Green onions dipped in salt,

Celery stuffed with‘College’ cheese.

Two kinds of homemade cake

With ice cream. 

I am from



Scots,  and

Irishmen emigrating from

Their homelands to

Canada and the

United States.

I was weaned to

French Meat Pies,

Oyster Stuffing in

Our Holiday Turkey,

“No matter how much we make,

We never make enough

Pecan Balls!”,

Glissant in chicken au jus,

Chicken and Dumplings, and

Girl Scout Cookies in the freezer.

I am from

Chippewa people that

Accepted a stranger, far from

France and Frenchmen,

Married him into their families and

Then chose him as their chief.  

I am from people

Who have been cured with

Rice and Tomato Soup for colds,

Vernors floats for sore throats,

Hot tea with honey, lemon and

A little dash of whiskey always

Chased away the sniffles and sneezes:

I have added to this pharmocopæa

Bay Leaf Oil for many things,

Chamomile tea in the bath

Lavender pillows at our heads, and

Minestrone simmering on the stove

To chase away the blah tummies. 

I am from

Ancient Noblemen, and

Dairy farmers,

Bare-knuckles boxers,

19th century loggers,

Horse Thieves and

Faith Healers,

Factory Workers,



Hard working husbands, whose

Hands built

Neighbourhoods that

Stood for a century.

Stay-at-home Moms,

Brothers and Sisters

That shared

Spirit-deep bonds of


Illegal aliens,

Barkeeps and


I am from afternoons spent

Watching National Geographic,

The Undersea World of

Jacques Cousteau, and

Understanding what he said,

No matter how much

His love for the seas deepened his

French accent,

I am from watching


Let’s Make A Deal,

What’s My Line?, and

All In The Family.

Evenings when 4 and 5

Generations would gather

Playing Po-Ke-No and

‘Tunk’ rum,


Scrabble, and

When they came along



Trivial Pursuit,and

Learning to do

Crossword Puzzles,

Cryptograms or

Other word games. 

I was immersed in all

The men repairing to the

Garage, communing with

Shots of Whiskey,

Icy beers, and the

‘Small’ TV tuned in to the

Game, whether it be



Hockey, or


Done while all the

Women settled in the


Drank coffee,

Swapped Recipes, and

Current Events as their

Children gathered ‘round the

Toy boxes, hand fashioned by

Relatives never met;

Peacefully sharing

Erector sets©,

Lincoln Logs© made of real wood,

Tonka© and

Matchbox© vehicles,

Green plastic army men and trucks,

Plastic farm animals and

Jungle creatures,

Colorforms© dolls,

Colouring books with crayons and

Coloured pencils. 

I am from

Photo Albums in nearly

Every room,

Overflowing boxes of snapshots,


Collections and

Images carefully preserved,

Stories handed down three centuries.

I am the saver of

Great-Great Grandmothers’

Hand Embroidery and tatting,

Silver spoons of the

American Presidents-

Purchased so long ago

John F. Kennedy’s spoon

Is inscribed with his

Term of Office as(1960-         ),

Plates that came to

America from

France through


Canada and into

Michigan before they

Journeyed to

Arizona and

Oregon with me. 

And Dark

I am from

Angry divorces, and

Broken Corning ware,

Food Stamps;

Christmases that mutated into

Drunken brawls poisoned with

Police interventions and

Emergency Room visits. 

I am from

The house that had

Piles of laundry that

Were never washed.

Dirty dishes in

Every room,

Bedding that was thin

Mismatched and uncoordinating, and

Towels worn thin from overuse. 

I am from

Dandelions and

May Apples

The dirt backyard that

Never knew sod or seed;

I am from

The cracked sidewalk,

Dirty driveway, and

Ripped screens,

The missing storm windows

Inadequate insulation and

Leaking gas heater. 

I am from


Alcoholism, and



The ugly side of

Great Grandma DuBay, and

Granny Cackle

Nèe Ford,

Whose family believed her

To be well when she was

Mean and manipulative.  

I am from,

“You can’t do that,

(I’m the musician)!” and

“Be quiet,

Daddy has too sleep.”.


You stink like a brewery!”,

“Helinore!  Bring me a beer!”, and

“Dammit George, you horse’s ass!”

I am from the

Ubiquitous bottles of booze

And hung over men,

Verbally beaten by angry wives.

I am from tiptoeing,

Whispered orders, and




I am from

Sneaking sips of

Grandpa’s bottle when

Grandma wouldn’t see, and

Being told,

“Don’t tell your

Grandma or your

Mom, they’ll kill me for sure.”


“See!  Don’t that taste awful?

You don’t want to drink that do you?”

Followed by a

Delighted snicker at the child’s

Face from the taste of

Cheap liquor. 

I am from

“I’m a louse about religion.”


“What do you mean,

“Go to church…”?”

“If I went through those doors,

I know I’ll get zapped by lightning!!”

“Did I really say that?

I’ll go to Hell for sure now!” 

Struggling to understand

“Your Father doesn’t want to be a part

Of the family circle.

That means that

Our circle is smaller,

And harder to break.”

Before the tears truly fell,

Briskly told,

“We can’t sit around being sad,

We need to get up and make

Sure that we can

Make it without him.”

I am from







New York City, and

We have drunk


Imported Beers, and



Bacardi and

Captain Morgan Rum,

Jack Daniels and

Single Malt Unblended Scots Whisky,



Squirt, and

Grenadine, and



Knowing too much

Too soon.

I am from



Overly dramatic,


Angry and

Withdrawn drunks. 

I am from


Silent and angry;

Swallowing their rage

In slow painful nibbles,





I am from Grandma DeShaw,

Slamming cupboard doors

With an angry slash for a mouth.

I am from Grandma DuBay,

So angry with


That she sat and picked




Out of

Grandpa DuBay’s

First new suit

After the

Great Depression

Was over.

I am from

Uncle John,

Having flashbacks to

‘Nam and doing the low-crawl

Through the house

In his sleep,

Unless someone woke him,

Then he became violent

And couldn’t be stopped. 

I am from

Slaps, and

Whippings with a

Leather belt on my

Bare butt.

I am from bruises

That were hidden,



Wept into a

Balding stuffed toy, or

A pillow,

Without pillowslip,

Stained and flattened from

Of overuse and


I am from the scars that

Never show,

Wounds that still

Burn in the silence of the night.

I am from the pictures

With crooked frames

And broken glass; the

Knick-knacks with cracks and

Glue seams that

Mar their beauty and their

Inherent worth. 

Meet in my Actions and my dreams.



Written by gwenguin1

March 23, 2008 at 1:22 pm