Grandmothers Saving Mother Earth

In 2004, 13 indigenous grandmothers heard the cry of Mother

Photo by Marisol Villanueva, courtesy of the Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers
Photo by Marisol Villanueva, courtesy of the Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers

Earth. She was in agony, they said. She needed them “to help to heal her and all her inhabitants.”

Since then the women, who call themselves The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers,  come together from their homes in North and South America, Africa and Asia. They meet at regular intervals to pray for Mother Earth and to bring attention to what can be done for her.

They have repeatedly petitioned the Pope. They have met with the Dali Lama. They have held a salmon ceremony in Alaska welcoming the return of the native fish. They have organized a seed temple in Mexico, linking the safeguarding of seeds with the birth of children.

“Ours is an alliance of prayer and healing for our Mother Earth, all Her inhabitants, all the children, and for the next seven generations to come.”

Their names are Aama Bombo, Agnes Baker Pilgrim, Beatrice Long Visitor, Bernadette Rebienot, Clara Shinobu Iura, Julieta Casimiro, Margaret Behan, Flordemayo, Maria Alice Campos Freire, Mona Polacca, Rita Long Visitor Holy Dance, Rita Pitka Blumenstein, and Tsering Dolma Gyaltong.

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Impressively Bad Grandma Poetry

I would not be so naïve as to say that grandmothers are the only vintage_grandmother_child_mothers_day_card-p137358133885526354zv2h8_400subjects of bad poetry. I would only point out some of the narrowness and shallowness of the genre. How about this classic opener:
Everything my grandma does
Is something special, made with love.
There is even a subset of poems on the subject of grandmothers’ aprons. Full disclosure here: I had an adored grandmother who actually sewed aprons both plain and fancy, that constituted an important part of her meager retirement income. Decades later, we found that several of the fancier examples had been carefully preserved.
But you don’t see me writing a poem about it, do you?
The poems you do see are breathtaking in their singsong blandness. This one was found (where else) in an online grandma apron poetry section:
When I would visit Grandma, I was always very blessed
By the apron that she wore, and the love that she expressed.
And on for several stanzas.
Clearly, for this genre, grandma equals love and giving and sweets and an old timey sensibility. What could ever be that good again? When are we ever, in real adult life, the recipients of food, devotion, and the warmth coming from the old wood stove? The answer, my friends, is never.
So here is my contribution to the grandma poetry canon:
Now that I am Grandma, I
Set the kids on stools so high.
They mix their snack, I mix my drink,
We dump the dishes in the kitchen sink.

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