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Poem: "Grandmothers of the Heart" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poem: "Grandmothers of the Heart"

This poem came from the November 6, 2012 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from siege.  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.  This poem belongs to the series Hart's Farm, which you can explore further via the Serial Poetry page.

Grandmothers of the Heart

Ola is farmborn,
the matriarch of Hart's Farm,
their oldest living ancestor.
She is the mother of
Elharn and Soren.
She is the grandmother of
Rowen, Finlo, Lia, and Aisling.
She is the great-grandmother of
Bjarni, Astrid, Birgitta, and Engelbert. 

Her hair has grown white as birchbark,
her skin wrinkled as a winter apple.
Her long face has seen many long years,
told many long stories, most with happy endings.
Her strong hands have knitted up the yarn
of sheep since gone to mutton and dust.

Heiðr is outsider,
come to the farm years ago
following her lover Leif.
She is the mother of
Gróa and Muirgen.
She is the grandmother of
Borga, Thorsten, and Sheelin. 

Her hair has turned gray as iron,
her skin thin and fragile as parchment.
Her back has grown bent as an old beech
but her eyes are still as bright as ever.
She walks now with the aid of two canes,
their handles curling forward under her gnarled hands.

They are the grandmothers of Hart's Farm,
but more, they are grandmothers of the heart.
When they sit enthroned in the common room,
it is not only their own grandchildren
who crowd around their stockinged feet.
With them sit Tófa and Sindri, Klara and Drífa,
and baby Dagny still in her mother's arms,
others coming and going as time permits --
all those who have no grandmother on the farm.

Ola and Heiðr are the oldest of the women,
living history and breathing peace,
tales told and traditions kept.
In them is the earth that was fertile
and now lies fallow, resting, remembering.

They are what age aspires to
at the pinnacle of its wisdom,
what younger hearts revere and adore.
Theirs is the knowledge of what has gone before,
and so whenever something goes wrong,
all eyes turn to them for advice.

Their future lies in Sheelin's fish-quick fingers,
in Astrid's wood-wise hands,
in Drífa's dark eyes
and Dagny's infant giggle.
Engelbert's mending ways
and Thorsten's shepherding patience
will see them through the end of their days
and the farm beyond where their own road ends.

For everyone at Hart's Farm
stands in a vast long chain,
from the youngest of the newborn links
to the oldest holding hands with only ghosts,
all under the guidance of
the grandmothers of the heart.

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4 comments or Leave a comment
e_scapism101 From: e_scapism101 Date: November 9th, 2012 05:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
And now I'm all teary...thank you!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: November 9th, 2012 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're welcome!

I'm glad you found the poem so moving.
helgatwb From: helgatwb Date: April 10th, 2014 05:54 am (UTC) (Link)
This makes me miss my own grandmother. I have lived more years in this world without her than with her, but. When I was a child, she was the center of my world.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: April 10th, 2014 06:02 am (UTC) (Link)



My maternal grandparents did about as much of the work of raising me as my parents did. That's part of why my temporal imprint is spread out the way it is. I'm as much a member of my parents' generation as my own.
4 comments or Leave a comment