Poetry competition CLOSED 21st February 2019 00:10am
24601 (John Brady)
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RUNNER-UP: yelluw_always

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Family History

Thought Provoker
United States
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Poetry Contest

Please share a poem about your family history.

Write a new poem honoring your family history.  We want to hear about your heritage, what stories your ancestors have told or passed down through generations.    

The Rules:

1.  One entry per DUP persona.  

2. No erotica; this is open to all ages and can't be viewed with an ECW.  

3. No exact word limit; however, attempt to keep it no more than 250 - 300.  

4. Any form is acceptable.  

5. Hashtag your poem #heritage and link to your poem here. Do NOT copy paste your poem to the competition. The point is to eventually create a hashtag for #heritage ( as heritage and history differ in definition ) we hope will be implemented by the Webmiss.  

6. There will not be a public vote for this competition.

You have one month; best of luck to all entrants.      

*Co-Host Ahavati and Muses22

jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
United States
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Shattered Nights

Through my maternal heritage,  
I am Gaelic Scots, Welsh  
and Breton (Celtic Brittany).  

Through my paternal ancestry,  
I am joined at the influences of  
the eastern Ukraine (White Russian),  
Polish/ Hungarian & German Jews.    
Through my father’s lineage,  
we shall most likely never know        
the exact count of how many  
members were taken,  
to perish on the way to  
or while interned at the camps.  
 So many (also with families)  
were swept up in the mindset of  
murder for the sake of murdering,  
as the war brought out the sadist          
in those who had it in them  
(finding a niche, their darkest outlet)  
through the epileptic Hitler.  
And through “ethnic cleansing”  
(covering up what any such  
cleansing was really all about),  
approximately 50 million total          
perished due to World War II,  
which included two-thirds of the          
Hungarian gypsy population.  
Although history says he was a  
vegetarian, the Austrian-born,  
pork-dumpling-loving Hitler  
hated just about everything  
and everybody (except the  
aforementioned dumplings,  
and Napoleon, of course).  
I’ve always been proud of the  
men & women on both sides of  
the family, who fought & died,  
So no more of them would be  
dragged out of their beds during  
the terror of shattered nights.  
The quote that came out as a  
result of the war, I find the most  
arresting and particularly              
haunting & prophetic, was from:  
*Beloved nineteenth-century  
German Jewish poet Heinrich Heine,  
Who wrote in his 1820–1821 play  
“Almansor” the famous admonition:  
“Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt,  
verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen.”
“Where they burn books, they will  
also ultimately burn people."  
*encyclopedia ushmm org  
Written by Jade-Pandora (jade tiger)
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•About a part of my heritage I didn’t know of until I went down to the Hall Of Records on my 21st birthday.
•I’ve written a great deal about my family ancestry & heritage. But as a new write for the competition with a suggested word limit, though generous, I have chosen a section of family past that would fit a limit: a history I learned of while I was at college, and continue to learn more about.

John Brady
Thought Provoker
United States
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Pops knows the way home

There are few things    
me and the old man ever bonded over;    
I was never one for team sports      
far too wild to be left alone with tools        
outside of banging a few nails in the yard        
but Pops  
well, he sure loved golfing.        
He’d attend every Sunday        
(we all got our way of praying)        
and sometimes I’d tag along        
and listen to him ramble        
about everything and nothing        
as I’d drag clubs around green.        
It’s the military precision        
that made him a devil at the tee.        
Gramps was also a mean shot,        
did several rounds in the dirt        
even I can’t comprehend        
despite the grit in my boots        
but some nights, I hold his picture        
and look at the sepia blood        
staring back at me, wondering        
if we were really that different        
as the echoes of his gunfire        
rattle through my empty walls,        
the Brady name laying etched        
on pistols stored in cloths.        
It was the final hole;        
Pop’s footprints left a trail        
in the damp sandbank.        
Couldn’t have said it better        
Written by 24601 (John Brady)
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Haley Quaquaversal
Fire of Insight
United States
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A March of Ages

Temporal otters of Hylebos Creek.
Father came to us on a mission,
ice-cream scooping with the truck bed,
to witness what being up the creek is like.

I tiptoed scissor fingers over
their slicked-back manes,
not cutting- venturing a floe bridge
of play and birth-rites to a time

before evangelical electricity
imitated stars as an earthy following
of the Mother Lantern that forever cyclicly
is snuffed by the robed lamp-legion

armed with golden staffs tipped
by voiceless bells, a tintinnabulation
of dark ringing out, as stoppable as
a dam simply out of time.

My people crossed the Great Basin
and thought stops there in the great big
openness that seemed to confer,
without interference, the sky as Being

but quickly in the smirk of summer's end
megaphones shouted ten-fold smite
of spun matchsticks: the flattened fled
away, away to lands of the huddled giants.

Great Grandfather pickaxed strikes of darkness,
a preceder ascending to light worship,
and to a lungful of coal.

Great Grandmother was never done in a day
that collapsed fast in the rain shadow,
she swung that draw bar down and lit the wick.
Speedy and swift, for the mountains
whipped the sun before wide-open towns ever did.
The giants massed, washed each other's hair,
preened, and shed the rivulets of strands

we built our thatches with, the torsos were
our boxes, and when the weeping would soften
them, their roots came undone with vengeance,
and so the men did what they could

with sons and cruised, scaled the legs
waving a many teethed sword. Father quit
the day of a Fir with the loose chain and a blow,
glancing him to the future, to his brother’s memorial

where he again thanked a son of the hill people.
For our existence of trail, trial, and luck. The hill people
are near a swear word, a vernacular snub,
reclusive and wild, but others do not know, how

the breasts of mountains ran milk down our throats
on the inside and snowed fat on the outside,
or that giants shake about us in grasping messages
of leaves, skittering and soft. They were canaries,
the Greens and McBrides, following their destiny
that is the deaf child tiptoeing
across the copse scalps leaving
behind impressions nothing like sheep.
Written by yelluw_always (Haley Quaquaversal)
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jade tiger
Tyrant of Words
United States
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.    .

Guardian of Shadows
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My Village

The village in a valley
surrounded by a forest
ever tranquilly serene
fenced by thick gigantic trees
standing tall reaching for the skies
looking up as if in plea
to be away and earthbound free

Within the village
there is a seer
a medicine man
a shaman
and a chieftain
to whom all defer to
their words are law
all yes no nay

The people live in shivering fear
of flying metals
and flickering boxes
of water in steel tubes
of flashing fire in glass confines
of tall people without their skin
their eyes blue-peeled from the skies

The village within that valley
thrives on in harmony
with nature at its best
hands calloused tilling the land
to plant and farm
all their food are contained
where mother Nature has it

they want for nothing
food off the ground and jungles
water from crystal clear river
scooped with bamboo dippers
to quench their thirst

One day a strange man arrives
with a crossed book on his hand
thundering words of fire and brimstone
golden brown eyes flashing fire
with words of ugliness he paints
everything the people stands for
to be evil and against the will
of a foreign deity
showering guilt on their wondering minds

Sleepy village
a church with a spire
two padres
six altar boys
congregation of fifty five
babies born to be baptised
the shaman has left
for places unknown.
Written by Grace (Idryad)
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Tyrant of Words
United States
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Joined 11th Apr 2015
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Thank you for all the wonderful entries so far. We love reading about your heritage!  Just a reminder that the comp guidelines state new poems only.  

Thought Provoker
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Dangerous Mind
United States
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When a sociopathic sister's
methodical manipulations
hammered wedges of ancestry  
in betweens of quiet moments
as means of further infecting
daily routines with more of her
I turned my back on her
and most everyone else
she was descended from
not caring to know
Whose long buried bones
relative to me among dead
names chiseled into headstones
or currently producing  
red blood cells in living
inhabitants of other continents  
was and is of no consequence
to me; merely effects of causes;
seed reinvented for dissemination
throughout arteries of personal
histories and irrelevance
Biology has inherent burdens
resulting here and there in
unwanted strains;
for some of us
bodies of evidence
are testaments to the fact
we are all related as a species
and you are no more in my life
special than the next person


Written by JohnnyBlaze
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Tyrant of Words
United States
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Anatomy of Family

When I was little, I didn't understand
how part of something could die        
  while the rest flourished: a tree limb  
  tiger lily, blackberry bush—and so            
Growing up a gardner, I grew acutely aware
of pruning as a necessity for dying parts
  to give the remainder of plantlife
  the greatest chance to survive—  
At 13, I learned this about humans:  
my mother became terminally ill;  
   they severed nerves to give her body  
   fighting hope to exist without pain  
because in '74, shoulders couldn't be removed.            
For five years I witnessed the extent
of what not extracting something diseased
  could do to the human physique by
 watching it curl into a corpse-like being.                     
Along years, my father taught me    
that you cannot always extricate            
  a malignant immigrant from your lung  
before it infects your kidney or heart.  
This was the greatest lesson  
death taught me in life: become  
  shears and prune yourself from toxins:
friends, relationships, and jobs.

Sometimes the cost to survive  
  is a high price to pay—my ancestors  
remitted their lives over trails of tears  
  and cruel concentration camps.  
There are times you cannot prevent  
   a death sentence no matter how hard  
   you attempt to preserve a future;  
this was the second most important  
lesson I learned from both parents            
  and a long line of ancestral suffering:  
know when you can prune—            
accept when you cannot;            
trust in the seeds you've sown            
to flourish as you once did—            
  as a tree limb, tiger lily            
  blackberry bush—human    
and so forth. . .                           
Written by Ahavati
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Tyrant of Words
United States
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This entry was not "BANNED".  It was clearly a violation of guidelines.  We didn't point it out publicly. No Moderators were contacted. No violation alert was sent out.  It was handled privately so as not to embarrass you.  As explained to you very NICELY in private message: due to the guidelines, there can be no erotic content warranting an ECW because it's open to all ages.  

You were asked to edit out key words, or substitute another piece before being genuinely thanked and appreciated for participating.

Thank you for the unnecessary drama surrounding your own guideline violation.  Carry on.

Thought Provoker
United States
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The Tree Who Knew All Wars

bow and arrow                          
setting traps                          
tasting marrow                            
My tree has roots in Cherokee.                          
marching through                          
reload rifle                          
battle dire                            
My tree has roots in Confederacy.                          
changing names                          
hiding truth                          
evading death camps                          
since their youth                            
My tree has roots in Jewry.                          
officer fighting Allies                    
commanding artillery                          
medals reflecting                              
struggle to be free                          
My tree has roots in Hungary.                          
The irony                            
of ancestors                          
always on defeated side:                          
The Austro-Hungarian Army                          
The Confederacy                          
The Jewry                        
The Cherokee                          
Mama and Daddy                          
fought in US ARMY.    
I am their one and only;                        
a warrior I may not be.                          
Writing poetry                          
my battle strategy;                       
watering hybrid tree                
that is my ancestry;        
I secretly consider                 
slim possibility  —              
dying for what I believe.      
(Submitted for non-entry for family history comp)
Written by TheMuses22 (Muse22)
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The Gardener
Dangerous Mind
United Kingdom
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Non Entry: Upon the Banks

Heritage is a mallet with which to beat my scalp,
heritage is the reclaimation yard I ran around as a child,
heritage is the stuff that splices you open and plucks at the beating heart, stitches up and leaves Sepsis.

Heritage is a pedophile in the ranks, leaving his black stain as war paint across our family flesh.
Heritage is my sister separated at birth and thrown into a cleaner surrounding but leaving this site more barren than before.
Heritage is not a thing to acknowledge here but a thing needing scrubbing as bacon grease in an oven, as sketches drawn on test paper, as wine on virgin cloth.

I won't write a family heritage poem, she says,
and yet it breathes - too permanent - in her hollow bones.
I won't write a family heritage poem
but I'll leave these old whispers for those who need not care.
I won't write one for the envy of others passed traditions, for the love festering in their spirit. I won't write one,
I won't.

Dangerous Mind
United States
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Elena Salniker Waller: Family History

A name I was given that is derived from Helen, meaning the bright one and
The shining light. Beautiful like Helen of Troy, but I was named after my
Dad’s cousin Helen Greenberg Palkes, who went back to school and got her
Degree. She never gave up her dream of working with kids. I always stand
Proudly alongside her although she is no longer here, but I will always try
To let her legacy live on inside of me years later. She never let anyone deter
Her from what she was meant to do just because she was a woman ahead of
Her time. Her son Henry told me this story of Helen making a kid stop crying
In a grocery store when she had a lollipop. The same woman who introduced
Quality family time at the dinner table and had a heart full with so much love
For other people, regardless of age, gender or race. An angel with an undying
Love for someone she never got a chance to meet and I am seed she produced.
My dad’s family name that goes back many generations and we cannot ignore
Its history or bloodshed like when his family narrowly escaped the Holocaust.
They came to this country for a better and new life. They planted the seed for
Prosperity and the next generation of Salnikers to live a life they never crossed
Like a bridge. Some of them never seeing anything, but death and hopelessness.
They emerged from danger, knowing that when they make it to the other side
Of the world the pieces will heal from this world’s brokenness and sadness.  
A name which is sewn together like a beautifully interwoven tapestry, rich with
So much history and strong family pride. A name etched into stone and concrete.
Written by eswaller
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Dangerous Mind
United States
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History Shrouded in Mystery

With my father gone I turn to his brothers,
But with their diaspora they’re hard to find,
Obtaining a family history shrouded in mystery,
My name seems lost in the echoes of time.

My maternal grandmother tells me what she knows,
About days of old and how her family came to be,
About times before electricity and motorized machines,
But still some parts in history are shrouded in mystery.

She tells the tale of her father (opting out a few details),
During the old war and how poverty hit the countryside,
As if there is some shame, a secret to the family name,
Shrouded in mystery as if something are still kept inside.

She tells me of her mother, a hard working woman,
Who had lost her lust on life and took it out on her,
About the suffering she experienced growing up,
A mystery that eighty years later still causes a stir.

Like the time ‘ma Maria began to lose her mind,
Why six of her children died before two years old,
Or ‘pa’s illness seemed like an evil curse taking his soul,
A mystery that should never ever be told.

Grandma gives me snippets of her life’s story,
The grim and gory details of her formative years,
Why ‘ma Maria seemed to have no love for anyone,
The times grandma was beaten but never shed a tear.

My family’s history is covered in pain and mystery,
Especially when the civil war separated many of them,
It’s a puzzle that for years I’ve been trying solve,
Even in the dark passages of murder and mayhem.

But I take pride in Grandma Emma’s love and resilience,
How her adoptive family fought and they raised her right,
Then she raised her children and grandchildren with true north,
Telling us to never lose faith and never lose sight.

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