Thursday, August 7, 2014

To my grandmother

 My poem "To my grandmother" was published today by The Voices Project. You can read it here.
The first picture of this post was taken in the year 1936 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. My grandmother is the woman wearing the black hat. Two years later, in this same city, the poet Alfonsina Storni committed suicide by throwing herself into the ocean.( She had an incurable cancer and the pain had become unbearable).
 The second picture of this post shows my grandmother taking care of me when I was little. I am the girl riding the tricycle.
 Unfortunately, my maternal grandfather died before I was born, so I never met him in person.
 Thank you, Denise Powell, for accepting this meaningful poem...



16 comments:

  1. Congratulations on the publication of your poem.

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  2. I send best wishes to you for the publication of your poem. Today is a special day for you. It is easy to see that you have special memories of your grandmother.

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, dear Nelly. This is a bittersweet poem. A very special one. And it was made even more special considering that it was published on my birthday (yesterday). My family and friends are in awe. Thank you so much for reading it. (I am behind with responses to comments on this blog).

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  3. Julia, your poem to your grandmother was so heartfelt and very touching, I left a comment. Congrats on getting it published, and I see from an above comment that it was published on your birthday, Happy Birthday and what a wonderful present! I was struck by the difficult circumstances of the time when your grandmother was young and in her prime, yet she strived to make things sparkle even though “there was no time for anything.” It must be difficult watching her bedridden now with dementia at ninety-eight but still she is smiling. I am sorry you never got to meet your maternal grandfather, a bookworm like you.

    I really love both photos. Your grandmother was a beauty and in the old photo she looks quite stylish and self-assured. You are so adorable on that tricycle in the photo, and look at those curls!

    Even though the poet Alfonsina Storni had incurable cancer, it’s very sad that she committed suicide. I’m not familiar with her work but from the Britannica article, I can see she was a successful, influential writer. I clicked through the link and would love to read your April 2012 posting but was unable to adequately translate the poem using online translation sites. Would you mind providing the translation (or maybe a link to the English translation)? Thanks! The video at the end there was lovely, and although I don’t speak the language, I could feel the emotion in the song and images.

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    1. Dear Jersey,
      You are an inspiration. Thank you for reading all the links and my poem. What an amazing birthday gift it was, yes. I'm still in awe.
      I'm heartened to know that you enjoyed these photographs.
      I am going to give you a link to the last poem that Alfonsina wrote before she committed suicide. It is called "I am going o sleep" It is very touching. Here's a link with a translation.
      http://www.richardmcdorman.org/2011/08/10/translation-of-alfonsina-stornis-voy-a-dormir/

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    2. Here is a link with some of her poems.
      These translations are much better.
      http://www.poetrysoup.com/famous/poems/best/alfonsina_storni

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  4. I forgot to mention that my maternal grandfather died of cancer in his early fifties. It would have been wonderful to meet him. He loved reading.

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    2. Julia, thank you for the links and the video you posted on my page! Sad that you never got to meet your maternal grandfather, and so interesting that he loved reading too.

      I never knew my paternal grandparents because they both died of illness within three months of each other long before I was born (I was named for my paternal grandmother and I have old photographs of them). Unfortunately, I barely knew my maternal grandparents because they rejected my family due to their old world beliefs regarding my mother’s bipolar illness. Maybe someday I will write a blog post about it.

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    3. Dear Jersey,
      First I want to say that I don't think those poems are the best ones by Alfonsina Storni. She has written wonderful poems but they are not available on the web. It is a shame that her best work is not promoted online in English. Perhaps they have not been translated at all.
      I do believe that my love for books is ingrained in my genes, and I think my maternal grandfather had something to do with this.
      I feel so sorry to know that your maternal grandparents did not understand what your mother went through, my dear friend. I would love to learn more and I will be looking forward to your post.
      The comment you made in response to a comment of mine, saying that you wished I had taken care of your mother was really touching. Thank you so much.

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  5. This is truly beautiful and touching. I really find solace in the old photos.
    The one of you riding your tricycle on the gorgeous checkered tiles and your grandmother keeping protective watch over you. I was mostly raised by my grandmother and what a blessing to be given her wisdom at an early age.
    I studied the other photo several minutes and I'm always attracted to the clothes of that time. Women wore skirts and not trousers. I wear skirts and dresses whenever I'm not crawling around in the garden and I guess it's a throwback to my early life when women always wore a skirt.
    Your grandmother is a beautiful woman.
    Congratulations on another poem being published. I love your heritage.

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    1. Dear Manzanita,
      Thank you for your beautiful comment. You made an interesting observation. My grandmother never wore pants in her life. Only dresses and skirts.
      I love wearing dresses and skirts too.
      My grandmother became a widow in her fifties, so she was very young when that happened. She loved working. She was even addicted to work. I remember her sister told me she worked on weekends, when my grandfather went out fishing, I think my grandfather found solace and comfort in books. I don't think she needed to work on weekends. She just had a passion for working.

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    2. But she certainly was a fountain of love to me...

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  6. What a lovely poem and tribute to your grandmother. The photographs are wonderful, too. Such a beautiful woman... such an adorable curly-headed child. Swallowed by the past, but still alive in your memories and photograph albums. By the way, a belated happy birthday to you. How fitting that your poem was published on your birthday.

    If the poems you consider to be Storni's best haven't yet been translated into English, perhaps you should consider tackling the task. With your love of poetry and firm grasp of English, I'm sure you would do her work proud.

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    1. Thank you, Susan.
      My relationship with languages is complex. I find writing in English comes naturally. I don't force anything. It just happens.
      It would be an interesting project to work on. I've thought about it.

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