dVerse — MTB — Kwansaba Praise Poem

resized grandma pics

left to right:  grandma at age 72; grandma holding my younger son; grandma holding me as a baby; grandma and grandpa one Christmas.

To Grandma

Her name means little free man.
A little woman, she was not free,
in tether to home, ills, and pills;
yet clan flocked to her oasis for
coffee, cards, laughs; to recall; to forget.
She gently worked rats from my hair
and tucked me in under feather tick.

Today’s Kwansaba form poem is also a Praise poem to my maternal grandmother. She was a lively little woman who stood four foot ten. Born of Irish and French Canadian heritage, she was raised in a lumber camp in Northern Michigan. She always made me feel loved.

This is the final dVerse prompt for 2021. We are on a holiday break until January 3, 2022. Wishing every person reading this a blessed rest of the year. See you at the poets pub again in 2022.

Grace is today’s host of dVerse’ final Meet the Bar for 2021. Grace says:
Kwansaba is an African American verse form of praise. The Kwansaba, (swahili kwan- first fruit /saba-principle) was created in 1995 by Eugene B Redmond, East St. Louis Poet Laureate and professor of English at Southern Illinois University-East St. Louis. The form was developed in honor of the celebration of Kwanzaa . The poetic form adopts the number 7 from Kwanzaa’s Nguzo Saba (7 principles) as well as embraces its roots in the South African tradition of the Praise Poem.
•Unity, family
•Self Determination
•Work Collectively
•Cooperative economics
•Purpose
•Creativity
•Faith

The defining features of Kwansaba are:
•a celebration of family and African-American culture, a praise poem.
•a septastich, a poem in 7 lines.
•measured by 7 words in each line.
•written with no word exceeding 7 letters.

Today’s writing challenge: You have 2 options: 1) write a Kwansaba poem using the guidelines as described above, or 2) write a response poem to David Whyte’s Blessing for Light and Blessing for Sound poems.

61 Comments Add yours

  1. Dale says:

    This is so lovely, Lisa. She would have loved this, for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Dale, I still miss her so much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dale says:

        I know what you mean. Mine died in 2009. sigh…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Like Kate said, why do they have to leave so soon 😦

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Dale says:

            Mine was 92… She had a series of strokes in her last year, otherwise, I swear, she would have hung around longer.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. msjadeli says:

              Aw, Dale, I’m sorry the strokes got her. My grandma was tough in spirit yet frail in body. She unfortunately got into a car accident on a trip out of state with my uncle and never recovered from it 😦 I think she would have lived significantly longer without that happening.

              Like

  2. Misky says:

    Everyone needs a special grandmother! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Grace says:

    This is such a sweet poem for your special grandmother. I love how the clan flocks to her oasis. I also appreciate the photos – so precious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Grace. She passed on shortly after the pics with my son were taken. Glad she was able to meet him and hold him ❤

      Like

  4. I love this praise for your grandmother… it’s lovely, and those pictures as priceless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      ❤ Thank you.

      Like

  5. Glenn A. Buttkus says:

    For me it was my maternal grandfather, he was the sun and the moon to me. Your poem is precious, priceless, poignant. My grandparents on my (newly-found) father’s side, I was never to meet, but my new cousins and one uncle filled me in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      ❤ Glenn, I firmly believe if a child has just one person in their life that genuinely cares for them, they will survive and become human. I'm so glad your maternal grandfather was there for you. I loved my grandpa also. He was more of the stoic but he loved me in his own way also.

      Like

  6. calmkate says:

    what a loving tribute to a tiny powerful grandmother so prominent in your life … grandparents are so special but they go too soon …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      thank you, Kate, and yes 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  7. sanaarizvi says:

    This is absolutely beautiful, Lisa! I can feel the love and warmth in your words 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, dear Sanaa.

      Like

  8. memadtwo says:

    To make someone feel loved–that is a gift and a blessing. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. robtkistner says:

    Deeply moving write Lisa — tender. Happiest of holidays to you and yours my friend, and every blessing in the new year! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, Rob, and Happy Holidays to You and Yours as well ❤

      Like

  10. Grandmothers are special, you characterize her well in so few words, here. Her smile says so much as well! Happy Holidays, friend! 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks, Tricia. I hope one day to see her smile again. Happy Holidays!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Sadje says:

    Such a sweet tribute to your grandmother Li.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Sadje.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadje says:

        You’re welcome

        Like

  12. SelmaMartin says:

    Tender and lovely. Loved.
    Happy Holidays. xoxoxo 🌲

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Many thanks, Selma!

      Like

  13. lynn__ says:

    A beautiful poem in your dear grandmother’s honor…thanks for sharing this tender write and photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Lynn, happy you enjoyed the tribute and the photos.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Irene says:

    Beautiful tribute and precious photos, thank you for sharing. Happy Holidays!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Irene. I miss my grandma. Writing the tribute brought her back to me for a moment ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  15. ghostmmnc says:

    Wonderful photos! Your poem brings back loving memories of your grandma! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much, Barbara. She was so tiny, even holding babies was a challenge. I have to say my son and I were both big babies, but still…

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Love your grandma Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, Petru 🙂

      Like

  17. Helen Dehner says:

    Gentle, lovely .. your poetic reflections are endearing ~~ you loved her so, and now we know. Sending Holiday Cheer your way, Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      ❤ Such a wonderful comment, thank you. Thanks and Happy Holidays to You and Yours, Helen.

      Like

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Reena! Sorry for late response, just found your comment in my spam folder.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. judeitakali says:

    A beautiful way of keeping her memories. I was never close to any of my grans. But then my grandfather had 9wives with an average of eight children each. We did have him over for holidays when we were kids. No photos though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Jude, if you have family members you are close with you are blessed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. judeitakali says:

        Ooh, no I’m not taking what I have for granted. Just appreciating your memories.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          I understand, no worries, Jude.

          Like

  19. robtkistner says:

    May the joy of the season fill your heart here at the closing if the year 2021, and may peace abide in 2022. This is a most difficult time for our planet earth, and a time of turmoil for its peoples. May 2022 begin the way back! ✌🏼❤️🌎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you so much, Rob. Sorry for the late response, just found your comment in my spam folder.

      Like

  20. Wengwei says:

    Beautiful ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you 🙂

      Like

  21. Sami says:

    your grandma sounds so loving.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Such a heartwarming portrait of your grandma through words and pics! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Punam, thank you. I adored my grandma. She and my grandpa gave me a solid foundation of love and stability as a child.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. How wonderful, Li! Only my maternal grandmother was alive when I was born. But she passed away when I was around ten.
        You are so welcome.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Xan says:

    “to recall, to forget”– such a beautiful insight!

    Reading these poems today makes me regret not participating in the prompt, but as you know, I’ve been having trouble making the words come, lately. It makes your words (and those in the rest of the community) that much more meaningful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Alexandra, thank you very much. The words are gathering high in the sky, whirling, swirling, until it is time for them to alight one sunny morning.

      Besides, I like the anticipation that is growing for your poem about Ray Donovan 🙂

      Are you getting any snow to speak of in Chicago? We have a dusting right now that lays on the frozen parts of marshes and puddles and along roads, sidewalks, and driveways, but that’s about it.

      Like

      1. Xan says:

        right now they’re predicting a snow-free December, on top of our snow-free November. At least this year we got rain. Last year it was a desert.

        Liked by 1 person

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