Inheritance

inheritance

I stumbled across this poem as I was prepping for teaching a poetry unit this month, and its beautiful images of time, surrender and memories absolutely enchanted me. So often I think of those inheritances from my ancestors – both the tangible and intangible – and breathe with gratitude that I carry their stories with me.

Inheritance

BY PHILIP LEVINE

A rectangular Bulova, my Zadie
called a dress watch, I wore it for years,
and though it gave the wrong time
I treasured the sense of community
it offered, the beauty of certain numerals —
the seven especially, the way it leaned
into its subtle work and never changed,
and signified exactly what it was
and no more. In dreams I learned
that only the watch and the circle
of ash trees surrounding me, and the grass
prodding my bare feet, and of course
my nakedness were necessary, though
common. Just surrendering my youth,
I still believed everything in dreams
meant something I could parse to discover
who we were.
As I write these words
in sepia across a lined page I have
no idea why they’ve taken the shape
I’ve given them, some cursive, some not,
some elegantly articulated, others plain,
many of no use at all. They go on working
as best they can, like the Parker 51
that spent its coming of age stumbling
backwards into Yiddish or the Bulova
that finally threw up its twin baroque arms
in surrender to the infinite and quit
without a word. The Parker still works
and is never to blame. On good days
it works better than I, and when it leaks
it leaks only ink, never a word best
left unsaid.
As a boy I would steal
into Zadie’s bedroom, find the watch
in a velvet box, wind it, hold it
to each ear — back then both worked —
to hear its music, the jeweled wheels
and axles that kept time alive.
There is still such joy in these tokens
from back of beyond: the watch,
the Parker pen, the tiny pocket knife
he used to separate truth from lies,
the ivory cigarette holder —
a gift, he claimed, from FDR
who mistook him for a famous
Russian violinist. I could call them
“Infinite riches in a little room”
or go cosmic and regard them
as fragments of a great mystery
instead of what they are,
amulets against nothing.

Source: Poetry (January 2015).

photo credit: Writing For Rosie via photopin (license)

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Discover a New Author…EC Stilson

In 2011, The Golden Sky by EC Stilson became one of the hundred best-selling books about loss on Amazon! Wayman Publishing is now excited to announce the release of Bible Girl—the prequel to The Golden Sky. This is the amazing true story of a hilarious girl trying to find her way through the teen years. Bible Girl was just accepted into the Barnes & Noble catalog and will be .99 for a limited time HERE.



Please join voiceBoks, Giveaway Promote, Good Steward Savers, Terri’s Little Haven, and Linkie’s Contest Linkies in promoting this wonderful book launch. Here’s a little blurb about the book:

The book practically cried for me to spare its life, and for a moment I thought I’d rather burn in Hell than lose something my brother had given me in love. The pastor nudged me, though, and my heart turned to ice.

I thought of all those hours my brother had read to me. I thought of all that time he’d invested.

I couldn’t throw it into the fire; not the last book of the trilogy. That funny little dwarf stared at me from the cover. Then, I closed my eyes. I stepped so close to the flames they almost ate my skin. I tore the book in front of those kids. I put on quite a show throwing in a section at a time because I couldn’t stand sending the whole thing in at once. When the last pages went up in flame, and the dwarf on the cover curled with death, I dropped to my knees and cried. The kids all hooted and screamed in ecstasy, thinking I’d been freed, when the ropes of religion had just twisted tighter.

Elisa isn’t your regular nerd. She’s not the kind of person who quotes Monty Python, or has a periodic table tattooed on her butt. No she’s a different sort altogether. She carries a duct-taped Bible, wears bright-orange polyester pants, and dyes her hair with red Kool-Aid.

Although she tries slipping by apart from the crowds, it doesn’t help that her best friend happens to be the “Boarder,” one of the cutest and most popular boys in school.

It isn’t until Elisa realizes she’s surrounded by hypocrites that her foundation starts crumbling. She doesn’t know who to turn to. That’s when she meets a mysterious man. But maybe she shouldn’t trust him after all.

Will he help her, or make things even worse than they were before?

This giveaway was made possible by the following sponsors:


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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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“Mommy, please read me a story”

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” – Philip Pullman

The author of The Golden Compass has a good point.

Parents know to provide the basics for their children: keep them fed, keep them protected, keep them company and all should be well. Kids beg for one more thing: our attention. One of the most gratifying ways I met that need with my children was through sharing a story.

Storytellers can take many forms. In many cultures, children learned life lessons and the natural world was uncovered through the oral folktale tradition. Families share boasts about ‘back in the day’ to instill values.

When my kids were very young I read to them constantly. Hours of repetition began with Goodnight Moon, then Richard Scarry, and Curious George. I remember reading a children’s version of The Nutcracker Ballet for twelve months straight because my daughter insisted and I gave in.  


Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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Friday Blog Hop: Stories To Tell

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Question of the week: 
What is a story your family likes to tell about you?

Read my post ‘Once Upon A Time’ to hear my story.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp