In search of something

Looking up the ancestors

Tracing a family tree

Am I in search of them, my love

Or really in search of me?

Finding pairs of twins who married

Sailed off across the pond

Only to find in a generation

Home was what they’d scorned

Trying to cram onto scraps of paper

Names and dates and more

Wondering why they had chosen to scatter

Themselves from shore to shore

Picking over the bones of stories

Scraps of my family lore

Wishing I’d asked before someone passed

A couple of questions more

Chuckling over the old intrepid

Tales of derring done

The girl who ran guns in place of her brothers

As they’d only blab to mum

The lady highwayman; army driver;

Girl of a thousand smiles

The one whose paintings went down with the ship

The ones who ran quite wild

How would I fit, these elderly legends

How would I measure up?

Putting myself into clogs and sabots

Filling old boots with luck

Knowing the secrets that spring from boxes

Hidden on dusty shelves

Of births and deaths and marriage and proxies

Chicken-scratch bibles and tombstone kells

The hideous source of a score of quarrels

Love letters from the wrong side of a war

Black sheep and politics; actors and brothels,

Family heirlooms and so much more

Mystery facts are now uncovered

A lady who lied for years

Pretending to youth and no old lovers

To soothe a new husband’s fears

Learning why some names were missing records

During a time of strife

Who had migrated and waited and waited

For news of their family’s life

Postcards and poems and brochures and programmes

From concert and theatre and prom

Knicknacks and geegaws and troubles and trinkets

Collections they handed down 

Sepia prints and chemical glass

My ancient faces scowl

Melancholic in rented clothes

They are caught dead in now

Dish of the day

Piping hot, served on a big, silver platter
With pristine white linen in case it should splatter

Serving suggestion: try holding your nose
(It can be quite fragrant when fresh off the stove)

A gentle reminder – you may burn your tongue
On sauce with such condiments, thickened and mum

Though some find it bitter, you might like the taste
So try not to let what you’ve bought go to waste

It’s strange and exotic, the critics all say
But you ordered The Truth – it’s our dish of the day.

Some questions are not meant to be asked

When I was but a little lamb
I rarely pondered why I am.
And yet as now my whiskers grow
I wonder, do I want to know?
Philosophers do quite a bit
Of reasoning on this subject…
Perhaps it’s better left alone
The answer to me’s an unknown.
We humans are a curious lot
And choose to prod more oft than not
At puzzles plagueing to our mind
Not fearing what we seek to find
And rarely pausing in our quest
To ask if knowing why is best?
Some things are meant as mystery
Still others, such as we can’t see
Or comprehend, though try we might
To find solutions to our plight.
Yet knowing not as I do now
Is lesser agony somehow
Than understanding finally
What little point there is to me.