April 12, 2016

Friday, August 9, 2013

Poetry Friday: Leaving Auntieland

Look up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's SuperAunt! She can wipe runny noses. She can change diapers. She can pick up babies with a single hand.

My daughter and I are heading home from a week in Florida this Poetry Friday. 

That party animal Renee La Tulippe is hosting
Poetry Friday at No Water River today.

We flew down on Sunday to help my sister-in-law take care of my 16-month-old nephew. Julia got to be mother's helper and I was transformed into Auntie Laura.

Julia and Jagger are twelve years apart.
I love, as in lurve, being an auntie. Since my two children are teens, I get to enjoy little guy time via my two brother's children, who are six, two and a year-and-a-half (with a sibling on the way!)

Another benefit of being mom to big kids and auntie to small ones -- when I'm visiting, I can pretty much give my niece and nephews my full attention. Which means, to them, I am awesome.

Here are some memorable aunts in poetry.

Aunt Julia
by Norman MacCaig

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
I could not answer her --
I could not understand her.

She wore men's boots
when she wore any.
-- I can see her strong foot,
stained with peat,
paddling with the treadle of the spinningwheel
while her right  hand drew yarn
marvellously out of the air.

Hers was the only house
where I've lain at night
in a box bed, listening to
crickets being friendly.

Read the rest at Scottish Poetry Library.


She talks too loud, her face
a blur of wrinkles & sunshine
where her hard hair shivers
from laughter like a pine tree
stiff with oil & hotcombing
O & her anger realer than gasoline
slung into fire or lighted mohair
She’s a clothes lover from way back
but her body’s too big to be chic
or on cue so she wear what she want
People just gotta stand back &
take it 

These aunts are Jersey Girls, like me.

My Aunts
by Meghan O'Rourke

Grew up on the Jersey Shore in the 1970s.
Always making margaritas in the kitchen,
always laughing and doing their hair up pretty,
sharing lipstick and shoes and new juice diets;
always splitting the bills to the last penny,
stealing each others clothes,
loving one another then turning and complaining
as soon as they walked out the door. Each one with her doe eyes,
each one younger than the last,
each older the next year, one year
further from their girlhoods of swimming
at Sandy Hook doing jackknives off the diving board.

My own memorable aunts both had big personalities, but could not have been more different. Aunt Jonnie (short for Jonine), is my father's sister. She's a New Yorker through and through. Type A -- have you ever noticed that the "a" in "Type A" is capitalized? Full of opinions. She used to take me to see Broadway plays when I was a high schoolers. Not musicals, but the plays, solidifying my love of literature. We've always  had great conversations together.

Auntie Mary was my mother's sister-in-law. An opinionated British red-head who was quick to laugh. She was a cozier aunt than Jonnie. She passed away in 2012 and my brothers and I remember her as a mother-figure, though we only saw her on annual visits to the U.K. when we were growing up.

Do you have a favorite (or quirky, men's boot wearing) auntie? Do tell! And if you're on the East Coast today, wave to Auntie Laura as Julia and I fly home to Maryland.

Mary Cassatt's "A Kiss for Baby Anne (no. 3)" at Wiki.

Could this be a loving auntie?


Diane Mayr said...

Love your choice of poems for today, especially "Aunt Julia" with its Celtic magic.

Linda B said...

Dear Aunty Laura, I had a bunch of wonderful aunts, and great aunts, who actually took me on some marvelous trips out of my own small town when I was in grade school. How do aunts become so adventurous? Do you wonder if your nieces and nephews will write a poem about you someday? Thanks for the poems, Laura-good memories! Nice to had such fun in Florida!

Tabatha said...

Thanks for these poems -- it sounds like a lot of poets have larger-than-life aunts!

BJ Lee said...

I loved these poems about memorable Aunts! I have one who was larger than life as well, and from NJ to boot. She was the one everybody talked about behind her back but then added, "But she would give you the clothes right off her back," and, you know, I think she would.

Liz Steinglass said...

I want an aunt! I'll take Aunt Julia.
I don't have an aunt of my own but my kids have wonderful aunts. Aunts have their own special ways of spoiling.

Linda said...

Love the Super Aunt cartoon! I never really knew any of my aunts. I missed out on that experience, but my sons have three wonderful aunts (my sisters). Best of all, I'm an aunt too, and having nieces and nephews is so much fun!

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

I had a larger than life aunt, too, my Aunt Pat. She filled a room with her blythe and effervescent personality. Aunt Julia sounds marvelous, tough as nails, but....

Bridget Magee said...

Being the youngest of 10, I was the favorite auntie for a long time. (my oldest nephew was born when I was 13)Then I had my girls and now they have lots of adult cousins who act like Super Aunts (and Uncles). Love your post today. =)

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Great selections this week, Laura. I think I would have benefited from an aunt whose face was "a blur of wrinkles & sunshine." I didn't have much contact with extended family while growing up, though I guess I can't complain since I had a great childhood anyway. Maybe just a little envy is okay.

Mary Lee said...

I only had one aunt (who I never knew) and I'm not an aunt. I'm feeling a bit left out of the aunty-fun!! Wah, poor me!!

Janice Scully said...

Great idea about writing about aunts! You really captured the Jersey shore culture in the last. I also loved the images in Aunt Julia.