Sunday, May 09, 2010


A Tribute To Grandmothers on Mothers Day @ Tinney Chapel

Click on any image, above, to view it in larger format or click the arrow, below, to view the video of Angela reading her original poem.

GRANDMOTHERS OF MY PAST, by Angela Newton Wylie, Lay Speaker

Grandmothers of my past.
Those both known and unknown to me.
Some of you I only have names found on paper
Or taken from cold lichen weathered stones
A few of you are listed only as someone’s wife.
Yet I know that you were more.
Much, much more.

Of a few of you there are precious photographs
Carefully passed down through the distant years
Treasures worth more to me than gold
For through these I can look into your eyes
And imagine what sort of person you were
Pictures or names both declare
That I came from you

You grandmothers that I do not know
What were you like deep inside?
I wonder about such arcane things
As I seek to span the vast gulf of time past by
Did you dream the same dreams that I do?
Did you ponder the same mysteries and
Seek to know the unknowable?

Was your nature like mine, tender and
So easily hurt by a harsh word,
Or were you stoic and strong,
A force to be reckoned with,
Ruling heart and hearth and table too
With a dominant unbendable spirit
The stern matriarchs of your line?

I know that you bore children
And sat up late into the night with them when they were ill
Washing dirty faces and combing tangled hair
Scolding and encouraging as the need arose
You worried about them when they went astray
For mothers do these things and the records show
That you were all mammas; you my Grandmothers.

But, did you sketch or paint and seek to capture
A small glimpse of the beauty of the world
As I do when I hold my camera in my hand?
What small things did you find quiet joy in?
What made you smile or shed a moist, misting tear?
Was it sunsets and fresh rain and the green push of spring?
That brings an end to dreary winter and numbing cold?

Did you sing or hum as you went about your work?
When the day was done, did you look up into a night sky,
And feel small as you wondered at the majesty Creation?
What caused you heavy sorrow or fear?
What hardships did you choose to endure,
For the sake of children, husband, or societies demands?
What secret tears did you shed when life became unbearable?

Your times long ago were different from mine
As I sit here in this oft’ confusing world,
yet, people have ever been the basic same,
What of you in your nature and your personality
Did you pass through the misty years to me?
This present woman with your genes, mixed and swirled
Together like waters in the rivers all rushing to one singular end.

Did you make things with your work calloused hands?
Did you set before a fire in the winter and piece together
A quilt, creating pattern and beauty and form
From scraps of discordant disharmony; creating something
Warm and useful and as well as a small part of you.
Did you prick you finger as your needle slipped through the
Resisting cloth, staining the fabric with a drop of your blood?

The same drop of blood that runs though my veins
As I too sew various bits of colored cloth together
And dream and contemplate the thought of you.
I wonder if you ever imagined there would be a me
Blood of your blood and alive because of your life
And I thank you, Grandmothers for that life
And seek to honor you with my own

Because of you and for you I will remember
And pass down what I know to my own grandchildren.
I will treasure your memory and keep your
Stories, pictures, and those names found in dusty files.
I will reach out and touch the frozen names carved in stone,
So that you will not be forgotten
My grandmothers of my past

Copyright © 2010 by Angela Newton Wylie,
Certified UMC Lay Speaker

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