Traverse City Record-Eagle

Northern Living

September 22, 2013

Terry Wooten: New beginnings at the circle

She has two rhythms now,

another heartbeat,

almost too delicate to dance to.

life passing through time

from uterus to uterus

generation on top of generation

like tree rings

or top soil

— Taelen Thomas

Our daughter and son-in-law were due to have their first baby on Labor Day weekend. What a way to top off Stone Circle’s 30th year celebration.

It was a busy summer working with a film crew, and hosting all our poet-friends returning. I was humbled and honored by this reunion.

I did my first interview for the Stone Circle documentary sitting on the boulder where I held our daughter, Blaise, to start the poetry gatherings thirty years ago. She was two months old.

One of my daughter’s favorite poems was always “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley. Now I have my own little Annie to recite it to.

To celebrate Annie Lillian Lowe’s arrival, I’m sharing some birth poems from my Elk Rapids Elders Project. Like “Orphant Annie,” these folks came from hard times before government security nets.

I wrote the poems. The stories come from student interviews with community elders.

Stanley Holzhauer

I was born in 1925

in southern Illinois

in a little farming village.

I grew up there for eighteen years.

During the Depression

all farmers were poor.

What you did

was you shared.

People that were in the cities,

and had to buy food

had a difficult time.

East St. Louis wasn’t far away.

People resorted to stealing.

They’d come out at night

and steal your chickens.

The summer of 1936 was hot.

All the crops failed

from the extreme heat.

There was an invasion of army worms.

The ground would be creeping

with army worms.

They crawled through your cornfield,

or wherever there was grass.

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