Tag Archives: hoisted

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.

john

© 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.

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In the war of my own succession

Corpr’l John’s the name
and I’m a whirlygig of fame,
I’ve fought right well and grabbed the pearl
and now I’m a great big earl!
But what?! (You don’t?) You don’t agree?
But even I (even I!) have heard of me!
Well now, ain’t that me up on m’own petards?

This poem is a commentary on fame by poking a little humor at a great man. The War of the Spanish Succession was waged in the early 1700s across the Low Countries of Europe between France and the rest of Europe over the right to control the Spanish succession. It is the war that saw England, already emergent as a sea power, emerge as a land power with a dominating voice in European diplomacy, thus firmly setting itself on the path of Empire.

The British success was solely due to one man, John Churchill (ancestor of Winston Churchill), 1st Duke of Marlborough and Prince of Mindelheim, who not only lead the allied armies in a series of brilliant land campaigns but was also known for his skillful diplomacy.  Such was his success that he was first made an Earl and then a Duke and then a Prince of the realm. Not too bad for the poor cousin of an impoverished branch of an old Irish family who had grown up on the handouts of relatives.

But fame is so fleeting, isn’t it? Famous in his day and affectionately called Corporal John by his men, the Duke of Marlborough is today a man known to historians only.

petard, by the way, was a small bomb used to blow up gates and walls when breaching fortifications. The term “hoisted on your own petard” came to mean “caught up in your own stratagems and deceits.”

Thank you for reading In the war of my own succession. 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.

john

© 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.

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Filed under Poetry