A very enjoyable piece read this morning by Garrison Keillor:
|My Ancestral Home
by Louis Jenkins
We came to a beautiful little farm. From photos
I’d seen I knew this was the place. The house
and barn were painted in the traditional Falu
red, trimmed with white. It was nearly mid-
summer, the trees and grass, lush green, when
we arrived the family was gathered at a table
on the lawn for coffee and fresh strawberries.
Introductions were made all around, Grandpa
Sven, Lars-Olaf and Marie, Eric and Gudren,
Cousin Inge and her two children… It made me
think of a Carl Larsson painting. But, of course,
it was all modern, the Swedes are very up-to-
date, Lars-Olaf was an engineer for Volvo, and
they all spoke perfect English, except for
Grandpa, and there was a great deal of laughter
over my attempts at Swedish. We stayed for a
long time laughing and talking. It was late in
the day, but the sun was still high. I felt a won-
derful kinship. It seemed to me that I had
known these people all my life, they even
looked like family back in the States. But as it
turned out, we had come to the wrong farm.
Lars-Olaf said, “I think I know your people, they
live about three miles from here. If you like I
could give them a call.” I said that no, it wasn’t
necessary, this was close enough.
“My Ancestral Home” by Louis Jenkins from European Shoes. © Will O’ the Wisp Books, 2008. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
Thank you Garrison! And a HUGE thank you to Louis Jenkins!
It’s a morning ritual for me, to listen to Garrison Keillor and The Writer’s Almanac. There are facts regarding the day, the earth, and ends in a poem. Select the listen online option. This day was full of amazing facts.
|Thursday, May 11, 2017
|To the Woman at the Retirement Center
by Phebe Hanson
You tell me when you were eight, newly arrived
from Czechoslovakia, your teacher made you memorize
a poem that began “I remember, I remember
the house where I was born.” Stranger
to our language you proudly learned all the verses,
practiced them over and over in front of your mirror,
but at the program when you stood to recite
in front of all the parents and other students,
you got as far as “I remember, I remember,”
and forgot all the rest and had to sit down shamefaced.
Now you live in this ten-story retirement center
where you cried most of the first month, so lonesome
for your son, transferred to another city, who couldn’t
take you with him because his new house wasn’t
big enough. Sometimes, you tell me, you slip away
from the recreation director who wants to teach you
how to turn plastic bleach bottles into bird feeders,
sneak up to your room, turn on the Bohemian radio station,
dance barefoot all by yourself, as you used to
years ago in the house where you were born.
“To the Woman at the Retirement Center” by Phebe Hanson from Why Still Dance. © Nodin Press, 2003. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
One of my favorite public radio broadcasts is The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.
This poem caught my attention during its broadcast on….
SATURDAY May 6, 2017
Red Never Lasts
by Anya Krugovoy Silver
There’s no doubt it’s the most glamorous,
the one you reach for first—its luscious gloss.
Russian Roulette, First Dance, Apéritif, Cherry Pop.
For three days, your nails are a Ferris wheel,
a field of roses, a flashing neon Open sign.
Whatever you’re wearing feels like a tight dress
and your hair tousles like Marilyn’s on the beach.
But soon, after dishwashing, typing, mopping,
the chips begin, first at the very tips and edges
where you hardly notice, then whole shards.
Eventually, the fuss is too much to maintain.
Time to settle in to the neutral tones.
Baby’s Breath, Curtain Call, Bone.
“Red Never Lasts” by Anya Krugovoy Silver from from nothing. © Louisiana State University Press, 2016. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)