I don't write poems, but this one wrote itself.
Oh, how very sad. But also how wonderful that you were able to memorialize your grandmother's experience in a poem.
And now because of you, we know their names and your grandmother's loss.
Little Hugo and sweet Esther. 🧡
Beautiful poetry. A prayer for Hugo & Esther. Maybe finish the book?
When I was gathering family genealogy data, my sister noticed (I’d missed it) that our mother’s oldest sibling was born, ahhhh, “4 months premature,” shall we say. (Never occurred to me to compare wedding dates to birthdays.) So my sister asked our mother. 🤦♂️ “Yes, well, Mom decided she wanted Daddy to marry her, and did whatever it took, and your Uncle Tubby was the result. It was a different time back then.”
I wanted to talk a bit about the cadence of my poem. It's sing-songy, as if it could be spoken with a drumbeat. I didn't realize it when I wrote it, but I know now there's a reason for that.
The book I was writing at the time had references to Finland's epic poem, The Kalevala. I read the entire book, some 23 thousand verses, and did a lot of research about the origins, the characters, etc. I immersed myself in that poem, reading everything I could get my hands on, and I didn't realize how much the cadence stayed with me.
The Kalevala was spoken before it was written, and the Rune singers who memorized it and recited it, did it with accompanying music--on a kind of lap-harp called a Kantele. When they weren't strumming it, they were banging on it--like a drum--each hit as emphasis to the spoken line.
It's said that Longfellow saw a performance of the Kalevala and used a similar cadence for "Hiawatha". You can hear it in those first lines:
On the SHORES of GITCHE GUMEE,
Of the SHINING Big-Sea-WATER,
Stood NOKOMIS, the old WOMAN,
POINTING with her finger WESTward,
O'er the WATER pointing WESTWARD,
To the PURPLE clouds of SUNSET.
I didn't write to a beat on purpose, or even consciously, but it seems to fit. I doubt if I could ever do it again.
(I've read, too, that Tolkien was influenced by the Kalevala, and there is that kind of drumbeat to some of his passages, so it could well be.)
Nice story Ramona. How fearful people can be of what they see as wrong. I guess they feared evil more than they trusted goodness. The strength of love is what is uplifted here and your poem carries gentle imagery and strong characters. You may find once you have dusted off one poem others follow that has been my experience 😊
This was a precious and touching story. I often mourn what has been lost to history before I knew to ask the right questions - of grandparents in particular. All of mine were gone before I was old enough to understand the stories they held close. Counting on getting another shot at sitting down with them some day.
As for poetry, every now and again something comes out of me that way. Probably not the best move for my future career as a famous writer (:wry grin:), but I appreciate how it stretches me to think outside the narrative. I'm glad yours wrote itself and that you shared it.
How beautiful and heartbreaking. 💔
Got it. I will continue to read your short essays! I am writing essays on substack as well and working on my second novel while coaching. It is great to be here to build a community of writers. If you like subscribe to my free substack as well.