Daily Archives: September 27, 2015

“Houseplants,” a poem by Mary Elyn Bahlert

IMG_0525My little friends,
yellow and brown and purple and green,
I treasure you,
my hands among your leaves,
my fingers at your roots.

My little friends,
there is so little I am good at in this world:
my children want for what they cannot have –
I have only these hands among your leaves
and a few places of sunlight in the house.

My little friends,
my eyes drop tear-less on your stalks;
I protect you from the cold in this place.
I touch you with these worthless hands
and you flourish.

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I wrote “Houseplants”  as part of a series of poems that belong to my grandmother, Feodosia.  For these poems are the story of her life, told through me over the course of a year or two in the late 1980’s.  Surely our connection to the ancestors goes deeper than we know – or than we are taught to cherish, in our culture.  The magic my Grandma – a bent-over babushka in a long black coat walking through the slush of Milwaukee’s narrow alleys – must surely have come through me, the magic of our connection told through the words I recorded.

Enjoy.