Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Where I’m From, By Barbara Sparks

Here is the second in our series of “Where I’m From” poems. This one, from Barbara, reveals some insights into her past and piques some questions. One of the fun things about these poems is that they don’t give all the answers, but they are full of intriguing images. I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.   

I’m from Sunday School, Bible Study, Spirited Preaching and Gospel Music.
I’m from Country Breakfasts, Church Picnics and Special Sunday Dinners.
I’m from meals that say “I love you,” and “Welcome to our home.”
I’m from solitude, laughter, colorful language and wonderful noise.
I’m from generations of storytellers weaving family tales from the past.
I’m from writers of journals, making sure that our stories will last.
I’m from fishing trips to the Colorado River, Ensenada, and the dangerous break water in San Pedro.
I’m from starfish, abalone shells, crayfish and other creatures of the sea, lake or other forms water,
Detached just for me.

I’m from boringly long baseball games, wrestling and boxing matches at the Olympics,
The Globe Trotters, and a hunting trip that caused me to refuse to eat rabbit.
I’m from rodeos, circuses, zoos, and the Pike in Long Beach.
I’m from elaborate Christmas Displays on neighborhood streets, in Santa Monica, and stores in Downtown L. A. 
I’m from wonderful visits with a grandmother
Who drove like a maniac, but managed to get us safely to
See Red Skelton and Rose Parade Floats at the park.
I’m from Red Car rides to Grand Central Market and the delicious Fig Newtons that we would devour on the trip back home.
I’m from “Don’t embarrass yourself, your family or your race,”
“A hard head makes a soft behind,” and “Nothing beats a failure but a try.”
I’m from a loving family that taught by example how to live life.
I’m from a mother who always said, “What did you do to contribute to the problem?” “Tomorrow is always a new beginning.” “Don’t let anyone take your joy away from this day.”
I’m from the strength of a family that survived many hardships but knew that love, laughter, family and prayer was the mortar that holds people together.


  1. Your story was good. I really got to see how your time here on earth was. You have a very loving family. You had a fun, exciting & interesting time. I can also see that you are a happy person and that you trust in The Lord. Also that your mom was the strength in the family.
    Thanks for sharing. Maria Z.

  2. Your poem is a tapestry of family that knew how to weave values, faith, love,inspiration,and priceless memories. I feel as though I know you better after reading where you came from.
    Love, Y

  3. From Charlene ~
    Barbara, I really enjoyed your "Where I'm From" poem. It has it all: appreciation of nature and humankind, honesty, humor, tolerance, warmth, lessons learned, inspiration and certainly observation. You have also incorporated all our senses: sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. I particularly like your final thought about love, laughter, family and prayer. Great writing!

  4. Beautifully written poem that conveys the complex experiences of your youth. I love the language and rhythm of it as well as the pictures you create. You are lucky to have "generations of story-tellers" in your family.

  5. Such nostalgia this evokes in me - Globe Trotters; Red Skelton; and the Pike in LB. I would have loved to have been a part of such a loving grace-filled family.

  6. What a fun family you've had and firm foundation for life. I love your mother's sayings and I agree baseball ball games are way too long and boring.