- Books, Literature, and Writing
"Grandma Glenna" and "First Niece": Two Family-Themed Poems
I was elated while waiting for my first niece to be born. Since I had two nieces before the two nephews arrived, this was a moment. Also, I am easily fascinated by the subject of personality, and therefore I wondered what kind of personality this little girl would have. Despite having a few months where she was calm as they come, she is now a vivacious, curious, and outgoing little girl. When I wrote this poem I thought about the many ways in which she could surprise us with her interests, abilities, and personal preferences. Yet she is certainly one of us, and this is reassuring. It's reassuring to know she is knitted into the family fold no matter where and how she may diverge otherwise.
Nameless still, you could be anything:
a professional singer; a microbiologist
working in Australia; the mother of five
vivacious children on a ranch in Wyoming;
a star athlete with a memory for numbers;
or even a peaceful and quiet creature who
marvels silently at her opinionated relatives
during family gatherings.
You will be ingrown around us like the
roots of a tree; this fate you cannot escape.
But the rest of you--your stripes,
so to speak--is unknown.
Please delight and astound us all with
My Grandma Glenna has exerted an enormous influence on my life. You can read more about her in my hub about the life lessons I have learned from her. Over the years I've been amazed by the many personality traits I have seemingly inherited from her. These range from my creative leanings to our unyielding interest in other people. My dad has even claimed that Grandma Glenna and I walked similarly. This poem is an attempt to better explain the particulars of our relationship.
She reminds me of inheritances, both tangible
and otherwise: journals promised after she passes into
the great unknown, or, of the here and now, the
tangle of shared personality traits wedged between
us like a needy child who insists on being
attended to by both parties.
She is not a mirror, but more a piece of glass with
sharp edges to define where we diverge,
and the silky surface of commanility upon
which we meet and retain our bearings.