She has two rhythms now,
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.
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.