Everyone should know where they come from

A story of Dharaa, originally from Nepal; dedicated to her aunt and grandmother.

Even though we all lived together, I don’t remember
being carried by my parents, grandparents or aunt.
They must have, many times, as they and I surely did
for my little brother and sister; but knowing it
and knowing it are two different things.
The only time I remember my father carrying me
was to and from the hospital when I broke my leg.
I was 7 and despite the pain,
I was happy just to be in his arms.

I think of my aunt as my older sister, or mother, really—
our relatives still call us ‘mother-daughter.’ But try
as I might, I can’t remember her carrying me either.
It’s not that there isn’t proof because there are photos.
One I really love is of me as a baby in her lap on
her wedding day. Grandmother laughs about it now
and tells me that I was the scandal of the day,
screaming and fussing not to be taken from her,
that I was so awful my uncle’s family still
talks about it to this day!

Now I am 21 and yet, every time I visit them,
I never miss to lie in their laps, close my eyes
and drift. And they never fail to comment that now I am
a grown up lady—it’s their turn to rest on my lap
and that soon my children-to-be will lie there too.
I yell, No way, I’m not done yet and I never will be!
And as they stroke my hair, they smile secretly thinking
I don’t understand but that someday I will, and I hide
my smile from them thinking that they don’t understand,
but really I know they do. And then I realize:
when I raise my family, my children won’t remember
me carrying them. I have to buy a camera!

This is the final third of narrative type poems I’ve written recently, although this time it is not my story. I was leaping from blog to blog one day and came across a posting by a young Nepalese lady named Dharaa, entitled Don’t remember being hoisted up. I was immediately struck with how charming the story was and I asked her permission to put it into a poem, which she granted.

I hope, Dharaa, that you like it, as I hope all of you do.

Thank you for reading Everyone should know where they come from. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed it and I humbly appreciate your visiting the Book of Pain. As always, I look forward to your comments.


© 2013 by John Etheridge; all rights reserved. This poem and accompanying notes are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License. This applies to all original work found on this site, unless noted otherwise. The attribution claimed under the license is: © 2013 by John Etheridge, https://bookofpain.wordpress.com.


Filed under Poetry

3 responses to “Everyone should know where they come from

  1. Oh! That is such a sweet memory and an understanding of the value of these moments. You have well written it. Beautiful. 🙂

  2. anmol, (Have I got that right?) thank you so much! Yes, the story itself was so sweet, but yet had hooks aplenty to give you pause to think. Thank you for dropping by the Book of Pain, I hope you come back often!

  3. I received this message from Dharaa, who, I am relieved to discover, likes the poem very much:

    thanks John 🙂 how beautifully you imagined the stories, and how beautifully narrated too! “…but knowing it/and knowing it are two different things…”