Where I'm From

When people ask where I'm from, I always says Houston, but the truth is I, and you, are from more than just a town or neighborhood.

 

George Ella Lyon is an American writer and teacher from Kentucky who wrote a poem several years ago called “Where I’m From.” Her poem is on the left and the outline for it is on the right. You are going to use that outline to write your own version of the poem.

Where I’m From

I am from clothespins,
from Clorox and carbon-tetrachloride.
I am from the dirt under the back porch.
(Black, glistening,
it tasted like beets.)
I am from the forsythia bush
the Dutch elm
whose long-gone limbs I remember
as if they were my own.

I’m from fudge and eyeglasses,
from Imogene and Alafair.
I’m from the know-it-alls
and the pass-it-ons,
from Perk up! and Pipe down!
I’m from He restoreth my soul
with a cottonball lamb
and ten verses I can say myself.

I’m from Artemus and Billie’s Branch,
fried corn and strong coffee.
From the finger my grandfather lost
to the auger,
the eye my father shut to keep his sight.

Under my bed was a dress box
spilling old pictures,
a sift of lost faces
to drift beneath my dreams.
I am from those moments–
snapped before I budded —
leaf-fall from the family tree.

I am from [a specific item from your childhood]

from [two products or objects from your past]

I am from [a phrase describing your home]

I am from [a plant, tree, or natural item from your past]

whose [personify that natural item]

 

 

 

 

I am from [two more objects from your past]

from [a family named] and [another family name]

I am from [a family trait or tendency] and [another family trait, habit, or tendency]

and from [a third family trait, habit, or tendency]

from [a fourth family trait, habit, or tendency]

I am from [an important quote]

I am from [an ancestor] and [another ancestor]

from [two foods from your family history]

from [a specific event from the life of an ancestor]

and from [another detail from the life of an ancestor]

[A memory or object you had as a child]

I am from those moments

[conclude by finishing this thought or by repeating a line or idea from earlier in the poem]