Present Past, by Barbara Groce

Present Past
by Barbara Groce

My Grandmother Liz
could square dance and two step
better than anyone else in Pike County.
She smiled at every partner,
but told me only one of them
caused her heart to soar.
She saw him last waving good-by
from the steps of the train
that steamed into the great World War.

She moves with grace at eighty-five,
but has not danced since she was young.
She naps in the old rocking chair,
a quilt in progress on her lap,
her skin fine and crinkled
as a page from our Bible,
eyes the same blue as veins
in her hands-those hands which
raised six children, coddled my Grandpa,
a miner, who drank and gambled
away what was theirs.

I know she dreams of dancing years,
fiddler’s songs and two strong arms.
Drops roll from her eyes, down her face,
fall into the folds of the quilt,
and become part of it, like her life,
filled with stitches and tears.

Author’s Comment: People who knew Grandmother Liz as a young woman have told us she was indeed the best dancer in these parts. Truth dwells in most of the other lines too. This is my favorite poem because of the strong connection to her. She died in 1962.

Bio: Barbara Groce and her husband Bill moved to Blue Ridge, GA four years ago from Roswell, GA and are enjoying the many opportunities to be involved in their favorite activities. Barbara has loved writing since college, but only began seriously studying and writing poetry in 2007 after moving to the mountains. She has been published in local papers and Pegasus, journal of the Kentucky State Poetry Society.

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