The Last Poem: Autobiographia

Today is the last day once again that I celebrate National Poetry Month on my blog. I have shared new poems, old poems, and a few favorites once again. I found this poem once again that I had posted a few years ago in April. I love to write and read memoir. This is a memoir-like poem worth posting again.  Reflecting on the theme of the poem, I have to say I had everything also and still do. Above are Mom and Dad back in the day.


I had everything and luck: Rings of smoke
blown for me; sunlight safe inside the leaves
of cottonwoods; pure, simple harmonies
of church music, echoes of slave songs; scraps
of candy wrappers-airborne. Everything.
Mother and father, brother, aunts, uncles;
chores and schoolwork and playtime. Everything.

I was given gloves against winter cold,
I was made to wear gloves when I gardened.
I was made to garden; taught to hold forks
in my left hand when cutting, in my right
when bringing food to my mouth. Everything.

I had clothes I was told not to wear outside;
a face you could clean up to almost handsome;
I had friends to fight with and secrets, spread
all over the neighborhood, the best teachers,
white and colored. I'm not making this up.
I knew that I had everything. Still do.

-G.E. Patterson

1 comment:

  1. Tom Tierney1.5.13

    Christy, I have loved your poetry month. I fondly remember every teacher who made me memorize a poem(especially Rita Peterson). Of course I am a huge Richard Hugo fan but have to read him in small doses as he leads me into periods of great despair in my life. My wife asked me what I want for my birthday, told her Caroline Kennedy's new book of poetry. Keep pushing those lucky children you teach towards the wonderful bright light of thinking and knowing.


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