Poetry by Farah Lawal Harris

My Grandparents Are Gone


my grandparents are gone.
never met them,
only laid eyes on an old distant picture or two
in a land i’ve never seen or smelled;
heard old happy voices
that hinted at the desire to hold me
via brief long distant calls;
witnessed tears form in my parents’ eyes upon memory.

i wish my grandparents could
tell me stories of their childhood
and teach me the language i never learned
but they are gone.

but if they were here,
i would ask my paternal grandmother
why her skin was dark like mine,
but her eyes were blue
and how she lived to be 102;

i would ask my maternal grandfather
how his faith in God got to be so strong
and why he loved nothing more
than reading the Book of Psalms;

i would ask my paternal grandfather
why he was so tough on my father
which in turn made him so tough on his sons
and why when kids saw him, they’d get up and run;

and i would ask my maternal grandmother
how she looked when she smiled
because i only saw her casket photos at her funeral
one year before i arrived.

all my grandparents have died—
gone to the next place after we leave earth.
i wonder in my death, will it be like a new birth
where all my grandparents will cradle me in their arms
and say the words they never had a chance to say
as we speak the same language
and finally get the opportunity
to love and know
one another.

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4 responses

  1. A very beautiful poem.

    March 8, 2012 at 11:42 am

    • Thank you!

      March 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

  2. lilkunta

    This is so moving Farah!

    “…and why when kids saw him, they’d get up and run;…”
    If we all dont run then our parents have done s/t wrong 🙂 .

    Make the plans, go to Naija. You’ll love it.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:27 pm

  3. Hahaha Lola, you are right. And yes, plans will be made.

    March 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm

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