POETIC BLOOMINGS

POETIC BLOOMINGS is a Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild site established in May 2011 to nurture and inspire the creative spirit.

FROM THE HEART(LAND) by Paula M. Wanken

PMWCover____________________________________________________________________________________

FROM THE HEART(LAND)

~ A Poetic Memoir ~

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Who Am I? (Paula M. Wanken)……………………………………………………………1

From Whence I Came…………………………………………………………………………2

Produce(d) On A Farm……………………………………………………………………….3

House On The Hill……………………………………………………………………………..4

My Own Little World………………………………………………………………………….5

Mind The Gap…………………………………………………………………………………..6

Life And Death………………………………………………………………………………….7

Up In The Air: An Affair To Remember……………………….:…………………………8

Making History…………………………………………………………………………………..9

Leaving Home…………………………………………………………………………………..10

Mamma Mia!…………………………………………………………………………………….11

Citizenship………………………………………………………………………………………..12

A Time To Reap…………………………………………………………………………………13

Just A Matter Of Time…………………………………………………………………………14

Living In The Now……………………………………………………………………………..15

____________________________________________________________________________________

WHO AM I?
(Paula M. Wanken)

P eople see
A quiet person;
U sual-
L y I am
A ccused of being grumpy.

M y smile stays hidden,

W aiting to
A cclimate to the
N ewness. Once
K nown, there is
E ndless loyalty and love…
N ot to mention, smiles.

-1-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

FROM WHENCE I CAME

Stoic and
reserved with strangers,
yet ready
and willing
to lend a hand whenever
my help is needed.

My love of
country, evident;
my simple
faith is clear.
A keen mind–education
key to confidence.

Though my feet
haven’t touched her soil
I find my
character
firmly rooted in the traits
of the Norwegians.

-2-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

PRODUCE(D) ON A FARM

Living on a farm meant more than a long bus ride to school each day; and black dirt meant more than messy shoes after a spring rain. Rich soil, the foundation of plentiful harvests. Potatoes, peas, green beans, and corn. Tomatoes, carrots, onions, and squash. More fresh produce than one family could consume in a season. Thankfully, canning and freezing what we couldn’t consume meant we had “fresh” produce long into the winter.

produced on a farm
I long for the comfort of
produce on a farm

-3-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

HOUSE ON THE HILL

(a shadorma)

Cornfields as
far as I could see,
except for
the white house
high on the hill…until a
fire took it away.

-4-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

MY OWN LITTLE WORLD

One of two children
on a farm of many acres,
my quest for friends
left me with few takers.

Though other boys and girls
I often went without,
my world was full of friends
of that, there’s no doubt.

Prudence our pup,
a big St. Bernard,
let me hang out with her
in our big front yard.

Sometimes, in the shade,
I’d read a book with Dotty.
She was one of our pigs,
big, white, and spotty.

When I needed a retreat
I’d listen for the meows,
and scramble up the ladder
to look for kitties in the mow.

And so it was, as I went
on my adventures, solo,
with no one to return
my “Marco’s” with “Polo”.

-5-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

MIND THE GAP

At
five
and nine
we were worlds
apart and fought all
the time. However, as we grew
older, the gap closed, and sisters became friends for life.

-6-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

LIFE AND DEATH

Growing up on a farm, one learns at an early age, the cycle of life and death. Kittens born in harsh winters don’t always survive. Calves and piglets grow up to be sold at the market. Dogs that roam the countryside beyond the farm’s fences sometimes do not make it across the road. Even the people we love eventually no longer sit at our table or hold us on their laps.

raised on a farm ~
death is a part of living
spring through winter

-7-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

UP IN THE AIR:
AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER

To
soar
higher
than treetops,
far above the clouds
where earth’s troubles are forgotten,
that’s where my eyes are brightest, and my smile, the widest.

-8-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

MAKING HISTORY

Rural Iowa living meant spending a lot of time in relative isolation. Six miles of gravel road to the nearest town (population: 450); forty-five miles to the nearest mall–and McDonald’s. This meant almost any trip off the farm was, indeed, a trip. Yet, every summer we anticipated that coveted week away. We visited what was in driving distance—Paul Bunyan State Forest and the headwaters of the Mississippi River in northern Minnesota; the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota; the Wisconsin Dells; and points all across Iowa. History was learned. And made. These trips were some of the best days of my childhood.

passage of time ~
family vacations can be
educational

-9-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

LEAVING HOME

(a shadorma)

Memories
are on a timeline
as before
or after
Mom, my sister, and I left
our family home.

-10-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

MAMMA MIA!

Watch a mamma cat
as she cares
for her kittens,
you will see her
single-handedly
(ok, four-paw-edly)
corral her babies,
groom them,
feed them,
protect them,
teach them, and
keep them in line.
She is creating
newly-independent
cats, ready
for the big world.
If you have seen
a mamma cat in action,
you have seen
my mom.

-11-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

CITIZENSHIP

Senior scholarship
ceremonies,
a time to recognize
the best among us.
The stars, the brilliant.
The names we always hear.

Star athlete, I was not.
Instead, I was on the sidelines
helping the coach,
or taking chewing gum
from the players
before they took the court.

Popular, I was not.
Sure, I got along
with almost everyone.
But you would
not have found me
among the “in” crowd.

Valedictorian, I was not.
Though I did my part,
and was smart
enough to hold my own,
I always fell short
of the top spot.

I attended the ceremony
to cheer on my classmates.
To congratulate the elite
as we waited the finale,
the “all around” award
for outstanding citizenship:

“a student exhibiting
outstanding qualities
of American citizenship;
active in student and community
activities; a reliable
and upstanding individual.”

And the winner is…me!?

-12-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

A TIME TO REAP

(a shadorma)

Reaping the
fruit of your labors
is the norm
on a farm.
Hard work comes with benefits.
A good lesson learned.

-13-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

JUST A MATTER OF TIME

Then…
I didn’t like his nature hikes.
Now…
I have his appreciation of nature.

Then…
I was annoyed by car trips.
Now…
I see with his eyes as I drive the open roads.

Then…
I thought he didn’t care.
Now…
I know he showed love in his own way.

Then…
I thought we would never be close.
Now…
I know it took hard work to get there.

Then…
I thought he’d always be here.
Now…
I miss him every day.

-14-

_________________________________________________________________________________________

LIVING IN THE NOW

The
path
I have
walked hasn’t
always been easy,
and I haven’t always made the
best choices along
the way. Yet,
I’ve no
re-
grets.

-15-

34 thoughts on “FROM THE HEART(LAND) by Paula M. Wanken

  1. Pingback: FROM THE HEART(LAND) BY PAULA M. WANKEN | POETIC BLOOMINGS

    • Thank you, Walt and Marie for hosting us here at PB. The encouragement you both provide is appreciated and cherished. Thank you, Walt, for the prompts…it took me a while to decide to tackle the memoir project, but I’m glad I did. It was a great exercise in taking a focused look at a specific era of my life. And Walt — the cover art you created is just perfect. It brought tears to my eyes today to see how perfectly you captured in art what I had compiled in words. Thank you.

      And to everyone who has read and commented on my poetry here at PB these past two years — thank you for your encouragement!!

  2. Beautiful from cover to finish!
    Paula, from another poet who grew up on a farm. The rural life is captured in your poems. Wonderful! 🙂

    • Thanks, Patricia — Walt did a great job creating the cover art, didn’t he!? As for capturing the rural — glad that you felt so, having grown up on a farm, as well. Thanks for your encouragement! pw

  3. Lovely, Paula!!! I wish I knew you then.

  4. Nancy on said:

    I read every word–twice. Tender visions. A glimpse at the person I know you to be. Much love–

  5. Pingback: Memoir eChapbook | echoes from the silence

  6. Oh my goodness…house on the hill took my breath away…so many lessons and beautiful qualities you’ve poetically expressed here; what an amazing memoir you’ve produced, Paula. ♥ Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you so much, Hannah. It took a while to decide to do the memoir project (I did it after the fact and not along with the weekly prompt postings)…but I’m glad I completed it. pw

  7. Paula, this was such a tender, kindly view of the farming life and the power of place on the heart (heartlands, indeed). Even the forms you chose and wrote so well were effective and touching. I loved it all, girl.

    • Thank you, Jane — specifically regarding my forms…after I was all done, I really did feel like the forms were important. It’s the first I’d really felt that, with my poems. Thank you again — your encouragement is appreciated. pw

  8. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    Lovely, Paula… I soo admire the strength that comes through your words!! Thank you, so much, for sharing your life!!

  9. What wonderful glimpses of your life Paula … brought me right to the farm and the heartland … thanks for sharing so much of yourself. It was a most enjoyable read (and re-read; I found myself going over your poems several times…

    • Thank you, Sharon…how touching to know you were “taken there” through my words. And that you would read them several times? I’m blessed. Thank you! pw

  10. A charming poetic memoir, Paula.

  11. Oh, Paula … your “Who Am I?” had me smiling and wishing we were seated across the table from each other again. This little piece set the tone for the rest of the chapbook with its down-to-earth, transparent self study. So very you — how can we help but love it? Each poem tinged with solemn gray tones carries with it the element of pale, soft yellow that radiates your sincere warmth of heart.

    You are loved, lady poet.

    Marie

    • Aw, thank you, Marie! How nice it would be to be sitting across that table again (with more money in the meter this time!)…what a special day that was. Love you! pw

  12. sheryl kay oder on said:

    Paula, you packed a lot in such a few words. I loved the word play of Produce(d) on a farm. The end of House on the Hill came with sudden sadness. Your MY OWN LITTLE WORLD could have been a sad dirge, but instead it was creative fun. Well done.

    • Sheryl – thank you! I appreciate that feedback. I do like wordplay–glad you enjoyed it. And thank you specifically for your comment on My Own Little World — while there were times it felt lonely/isolating to be on the farm (I sometimes envied the town kids!), I’m glad my poem about it did not come across as sad. pw

  13. Nicely done Paula! Enjoyed reading these snapshots of your life. Being a Midwesterner in SW South Dakota (grew up in NW Iowa) can relate so well to all of these, except; I never would have made any kind of “Student Award”). Congratulations Thanks for sharing this.

    • Thank you, David — I am glad to know that, being from the Midwest, you can relate. (BTW, I went to college in Orange City, Iowa, so I spent 4 years in the NW part of the state…prior to that, I was in Humboldt County.) pw

      • We’re about 25 miles from O.C. Tulip Festival this weekend.

        • In all my years there, I didn’t stick around for the festival. Graduation happened and they herded us out of there so they could use campus housing for people coming in for the festival. And I haven’t been back there since I graduated!

  14. Paula, I’ve always envied your ability to say so much in the fewest words (as opposed to my long winded rants), but I am pleased to see you branch into a more varied battery of form for this project. You should be the inspiration for those who wished to submit their memoir, but missed the prompts. You put the effort in to go back and complete it. And quite well, I must add. A great collection from down home. Loved working with it. Walt.

    • Walt – it did take some effort to get caught up…but I am so glad I did. Thank you for allowing me to post long after the last of the prompts had been completed. And thank you for your kind words…while I have, indeed, been partial to the shorter forms, some of my thoughts/memories took me on a longer-worded journey. I’ve also enjoyed having the form playing a role in my poems. I’ve only been at this poetry thing for two and half years, so I feel like I still have so much to learn. Thank you to you and Marie for facilitating a place to grow. pw

  15. Paula, I don’t know where to begin. These are precious poems, all. I’ll just name a few favorites: Produced On A Farm; Life and Death; Mama Mia; Just A Matter of Time. I so enjoyed this collection, Paula.

Plant your poem or comment here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: