About the Poem
My Grandmother died recently. As I reflected on her life and what she had really meant to me I was shocked to find out how much of who I have become is a result of who she was.
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|by Judith Stafford|
In the midst of towering birch trees; chill wind blew
off an icy lake. Did you know as you stood on hard
frosty ground, that you had discovered our sanctuary?
Did you perceive the scent of summers through the
antiseptic snow? Did you hear years of laughter and
wonderment inside those cabin doors? Did you look
past the rustic and the crude and see unrestrained grace?
I remember a dining table laid out with the finest
china and polished silver. I remember pot roast and
manners and decorum. I remember sitting on the dryer
in the laundry room; that gentle warmth rising; cloaking
us in humid comfort. I remember stories of mom getting
lost for hours, wandering in circles in the forest. I
remember testing it out for myself and losing my bearings
and how my heart would pound loud enough to drown
out everything except that one car engine that led to
the road and safety. I remember bear tracks and over
turned trash containers. And corn soaking in salt water.
I remember barbecue pits in the sand and a special bed
in a small alcove that always belonged to me. I wonder
how many other grandchildren can say the same?
These are the things that you loved and you showed
them to us and we loved them too. And these are the
memories that were yours and you shared them with
us and now they are ours. They are heavy in sight and
sound; in fragrance and sensation. They are your life
and our childhood. They are your accomplishments and
our inheritance. They are who you were and who we've
become. You fought against the coarser and baser parts
of our nature with a refining hand and a classic elegance.
We have always known this; always appreciated this;
always recognized we would be but shadows of ourselves
without this, but rarely have we dwelt upon the regal
influence that was your life.