The road ends, but the journey continues...

My Grandmothers, Too

Lineage

By Margaret Walker

My grandmothers were strong.
They followed plows and bent to toil.
They moved through fields sowing seed.
They touched earth and grain grew.
They were full of sturdiness and singing.
My grandmothers were strong.

My grandmothers are full of memories.
Smelling of soap and onions and wet clay
With veins rolling roughly over quick hands
They have many clean words to say.
My grandmothers were strong.
Why am I not as they?

Written in 1942.
I discovered this poem in 1992.
Presented here as an homage during Women’s History Month, 2021.

37 Comments

  1. Andy

    I lost both of my Grandmothers a few months apart in 1990. One thing they had in common, a fact I recall every Remembrance Sunday, is that they both grew up without a father because of World War One. Like everyone else that I grew up with, their influence and stories figure often in my writing and my thoughts.

    • laura bruno lilly

      “their influence & stories often figure in my writing and my thoughts”
      Yep, they live on in our lives.

  2. Thanks for sharing that awesome poem!!!

  3. Marty

    You gave me a lump in my throat. There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t think about my grandma at least twice. Hats off, Laura.

  4. Annika Perry

    Laura, a touching share of this poem celebrating all grandmothers! I wonder if the author later discovered that she too was so strong when a grandmother! My grandmother was incredible, strong, full of joy, often singing, the heart of the house. When she passed we could always sense her presence there, her scent, the bread she baked – a comforting invisible grandmother and knowing her has helped make me a stronger and wiser person!

  5. Frank @ Beach Walk Reflections

    I see this as a symbolic tribute to the women in the past. Well done, Laura!

    • laura bruno lilly

      I thought it might act as that – though it is a favorite poem of mine regardless of its symbolism.

  6. marissthequilter

    This is such a moving and honest tribute to your grandmothers.
    I am sure that you are stronger than you realise

  7. cedar51

    I never knew my grandmothers and so I don’t know their personal history – but I guess they had very little choice on how their lives panned out – if they didn’t put in the hard yards, dinner wasn’t made… Nor am I ever going to be a grandmother, what would some family member think of me if I was…

    • laura bruno lilly

      Each family history pans out differently, yet if not for our forebears, we’d not be here! Thanks for stopping by, Catherine.

  8. Laura

    I miss my grandmothers and greats! There is so much that I want to ask them! 🙂

  9. Chela's Colchas y Mas

    Thanks for sharing this. It brought so many memories of my strong grandmothers.

  10. Jane's Heartsong

    A reverent and good way to remember our grandmothers.

    • laura bruno lilly

      You’re right, Jane, there is an aura of reverence about this poem and the images it evokes.

  11. Lavinia Ross

    That is a beautiful poem you found. Only one of my grandparents was still alive when I was born, my father’s mother.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you, Lavinia. Multiple generations interacting within families is golden!

  12. piecefulwendy

    Short, but thought provoking. Brings back many memories.

  13. rl2b2017

    Lovely poem, Laura. I was never lucky enough to know my grandmothers, but I sure would have liked to. I believe they both were very strong women and that I would have been able to learn a lot from them. ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      You are continuing in the tradition of your family as you love on those ‘littles’!
      🙂

  14. Ally Bean

    I never knew my grandmothers. Growing up I was often told how much I was like them, but who knows for sure?

  15. LA

    💗

  16. zippyquilts

    Good one!

  17. Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet

    Amazing, Chris, how in 1942, the poet was comparing herself to her strong grandmothers, just as I compare myself with my strong grandmother today. Perfect selection for Women’s History Month! <3

    • laura bruno lilly

      Yes, Cheryl, it’s a blessing to see the ‘lineage’ that comes before us.

  18. L. Marie

    A beautiful reminder of the strength of women. My grandmothers also were very strong. They both passed away. But I am glad I had the time I had with them.

    • laura bruno lilly

      I, too, was raised with both GrandMothers and a Great GrandMa thrown in for good measure!

  19. petespringerauthor

    Marvelous! Grandmothers are the salt of the earth.

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