Saturday, March 8, 2014

Dividing time


Artist:   Vandy Massey 


Time divided your life
to before
and after your father left the family

You tried to save the hands
of ticking clock but it was warped cold
like a deep bitter root &

when you pulled it up,
the worms have eaten it away & you
you could not staunch the wounds-

You shoulder on,
a proud sapling for your mother
& 5 sisters
Standing on your ground, this home

is where you'll root & stake your name
Pulsing of tropical sun & rain
you soak the country's heritage 
until your tongue knew only one language -

Now, all I recall of you before:
your smiling brown eyes
then after:   big gentle hands
wrinkled & bluish grey
Your fair face, lined like a fallen tree

Death came in one heart blow
For you, time proved to be merciful 
For us, it was a flash of lightning

coming & coming again-


Posted for Imaginary Garden for Real Toads - Featuring the work by Vandy Massey
Shared with Poets United

Process Notes:  This post is about my grandfather who died when I was very young. What I remember though was his funeral, which was celebrated like a fiesta.   When his American father divorced his mother (Filipina with Spanish descent), he was left to provide for his mother & 5 sisters.  I heard that he was given a chance to come to the US to be with his American father (who spoke 8 languages) but he chose to stay in the Philippines with his mother & sisters.   During WW2, he & his family were hunted down by the Japanese soldiers.   I may write about this next time     ~  Thanks for the visit ~ 

49 comments:

  1. what a moving story... and how brave he was to stay and care for his mom and siblings... a decision that mirrors in choosing that one language....

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    1. Thanks Claudia ~ So many stories from our family history, ha ~

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  2. appreciate the time element and the integrating reminiscence

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  3. What a story.. and what good tribute...I really like how you have divided the time... to the before and after. What a dividing line it must be...

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    1. I think we divide time by our memories ~ Thanks Bjorn ~

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  4. A really fine remembrance of your grandfather, so aptly portrayed in the watercolor of the timepiece. Time divides again and again through this poem, between what was and what we are. The empathy you reach out with is startling and true even though the distance is now far. Great job, Grace.

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  5. smiles...after the week i had, this very well could have been a reality for me you know...it comes so quick...i smiled at the memories...we have to gather them up because we never know when...

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    1. Yes, those moments can come so quickly ~ Thanks Brian ~

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  6. Intense and moving Grace--my step mother's family lived in the Philippine's during the Second World War--scary and intense time

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    1. Really ~ My grandfather hid in the jungles during WW2 to escape Japanese bayonets ~ Maybe you can write about it, smiles ~

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  7. Very retrospective, nostalgic, deep story ...around the image ~ thanks for sharing, Grace xx

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  8. Wow, what a touching story about your grandfather. He was a special person and you described him so vividly, especially the hands imagery I like. Lovely, Grace :)

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  9. A beautiful poem about a beautiful man. Perfect for the painting as well.

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  10. Great guy indeed to stay and take care of his family. Before and after, so true

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  11. Wow emotional and powerful write. Truly felt this one.

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  12. I love the images of strength you've adorned the poem with...a wonderful tribute to a man of unique identity..

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  13. A poem of this nature carries its authenticity to the heart of every reader. Your comparisons show a real connection to the person and the whole is so powerful without sentimentality.

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  14. What a beautiful testimony to a very courageous man. I like the title as well.

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  15. I enjoyed the way you told this story.

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  16. Very sad story--wonderful that he survived to have children! I think it is so hard for people to remember the terrible devastation of the war. Thank you. k.

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  17. A loving tribute to your grandfather and his unyielding devotion to your family.

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  18. So moving a story to tell. Such a noble man who chose to remain to take over his accepted responsibilities. Thanks for sharing Grace!

    Hank

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  19. This story tugs at my heart, Grace. I DO hope you will share more of your family stories.

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  20. A telling of personal history that speaks to all our histories and to the force inside us which makes us build the relationships of trust, responsibility and caring we call family. Many lovely lines in this Grace--i especially liked '...Your fair face, lined like a fallen tree..' Thanks for the introduction to Ms Massey, also.

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  21. Un très joli post ! Très bon dimanche à toi !

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  22. Those divisions tell of a person's strengths and successes, one's leanings and joys. I see the son of the leave-taker here as a sapling and tree, as a provider, and even a legend, one whose life lit up the sky again and AGAIN--one whose death parted the skies. Beautiful.

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  23. Our life's clock is often defined by an event isn't it? Forever measured in the before and after. Thank you for sharing this personal story of your grandfather with us.

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  24. I lived in the P.I. for a time, and they still hate the Japanese there. I went to a movie about Midway when I was there, and when the Japanese planes got shot down, the whole place cheered.

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  25. I think certain events define us in the hands of time..the before and after but, I think it is the memories between that we will remember. Nice story he had strong roots.

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  26. This piece of history and heritage is such an authentic beauty...very moving Grace...

    "you soak the country's heritage
    until your tongue knew only one language -"

    I love this.

    Thank you for your process as well. ♥

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  27. Grace, you have the material here for a fascinating memoir...........thanks so much for the process notes which I enjoyed as much as the poem. I love especially "you were a proud sapling for your mother and five sisters. Unbelievable after such hardship that they were then hunted down by the Japanese. Some lives get more than their share. I look forward to the sequel to this poem.......

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  28. Beautifully written Grace. I too, love "you soak the country's heritage until your tongue knew only one language."

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  29. A great story of your grandfather. Loved these lines...you soak the country's heritage
    until your tongue knew only one language . Beautiful.

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  30. Grace I can imagine tears shed as you wrote this moving piece on your grandfather, how proud the family must be of his decision to remain. Your closing lines show the pain of this very personal story.

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  31. The before and after effect is really powerful. You have done great justice to his story through your words. A heartfelt and beautiful portrayal of his person. :-)
    -HA

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  32. Granc,
    A very moving tribute, finely written, highly poetic. You are steward of a very interesting and important heritage.

    Steve K.

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  33. Powerful stuff. I think everyone has a "before" and "after," with a determining crux in between. This one is well told, indeed.

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  34. Your grandfather was a wonderful man. You must be very proud of him.

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  35. What a great place for inspiration. The poem was amazing and filled with emotion.

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  36. Do write of them. I look forward to it. Good week, Grace. Sorry I didn't have a piece to add to your challenge. In a place dry of words. ~

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  37. this is great. makes me think about the "befores" and "afters" in my own life. thank you

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  38. Creative use of time to frame the story of your grandfather which you've told so well.
    "You tried to save the hands
    of ticking clock but it was warped cold"
    Graphic imagery here.

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  39. Your grandfather sounds like an amazing man, Grace. Your tribute to him is wonderful. I especially loved the imagery of him being a strong sapling. As always, thank you! Have a great week, my friend!

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  40. Your grandfather had strong convictions at a very young age...what an inspiration. I found your post note chilling...that his family was "hunted" down by the Japanese. Also love the fact that obviously your family spoke about his story and shared his legacy with you...priceless!

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  41. Such a well-written story-poem and tribute to the courage of your roots. This flowed well and good sensory inclusion also.

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  42. This is beautiful and moving Grace. I do hope you write more of these family heritage pieces, I would enjoy reading them.

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Thank you for your comments and visit. I appreciate them ~