Thursday, August 18, 2011

How You Look Back (Poem)

How You Look Back

English meets Irish goes Greek to become
Hybrid DNA. First generation
American takes a second. From some
A third, fourth, and fifth arise. This nation

Called family expands and contracts bounds.
What's added soon leaves; what's taken pushes
Deep, no memory making object found
A loss replaced. Past itself ambushes

Sweetest recall of childhood cast in time
By presidents shot, cities on fire, kids
Sent to war. One returns home unwhole, primed
Prisoner of mind. It's nothing he did.

        How you look back is both your light and dark.
        Where you come from your going to must mark.

© 2011 Maureen E. Doallas

My audio recording of the poem:

 Audio Recording of "How You Look Back" by mdoallas

At The High Calling, PhotoPlay editor Claire Burge issued a call August 12 for photographic submissions that respond to "five images that represent your history": Who made up your DNA? Where do you come from? What object is precious to your past? What memory resonates most deeply? What moment in history marks your childhood?

L.L. Barkat followed up with her own post, "Get Historical in Pictures". In keeping with this month's theme at Every Day Poems and TweetSpeakPoetry, poets are invited to create a sonnet that "explains your history". 

I offer as my sonnet "How You Look Back". The history of my childhood includes the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963, the rioting in 1968 that set Washington, D.C., on fire, and the decades of the Vietnam War Era, which did not end until I was in college and caught up my own family and all too many friends. 

Leave your submissions — photos or poems, literal or metaphorical historical pictures — on this FaceBook Wall by the deadline, August 24.


Louise Gallagher said...

What a powerful DNA you have Maureen.

And what a powerful talent.

Your gift shines through the years of your past.

L.L. Barkat said...

this is terrific; I'm amazed at your sonnet-skill! :)

Maureen said...

Thank you both! I won't tell you how long it takes me to write one using this form. The first one I wrote is a backward sonnet I'll post next week. It seemed easy by comparison.

Anonymous said...

I love this. I love sonnets. :)

S. Etole said...

Yes ... you are ... very good!

michelle ortega said...

Wow, Maureen. What a peaceful, accepting description of how it all part of the journey. for me, especially "no memory making object found"...thank you. :-)

Anonymous said...

strange how some of what we go through becomes part of us for a time.

Joyce Wycoff said...

Very powerful.

Jenne' R. Andrews said...

A beautiful sonnet, Maureen. I admire your elan in tackling these forms; they come naturally to you, it feels, although you may struggle. Now I'm thinking I may have the nerve to post the poem I wrote earlier this year about DNA...xxxj

Connie said...

"How you look back is both your light and dark."...and I think the "how" shapes us more than the "what."