This wasn’t as hard – the prompt was to write a tribute poem, a tribute to someone who changed your life or who had made some sort of lasting impression. And so I picked my great-grandma, of course. ^_^

For Leona

Your real name was Alva
but you hated it
and so you took your middle name:
Leona, which means lioness.
And everyone (for some reason)
called you Betty.

Your life began in 1905
outside Independence, Missouri
at your father’s homestead.

You were the thirteenth of
twenty-three children,
though some did not live
past infancy.

You grew up and moved to
the Northwest,
and loved Oregon
and its easy weather.

You had more hard times than
you ever let on.

The father of your only child
married your sister.

You went to prison for two and a half years
once, and I suspect it was
for making moonshine.

You married Karl, and lived on your property
raised your daughter,
your grandchildren,
and helped to raise your great-grandchildren.

You taught me to love books
and the outdoors
and gardening
and to be fearless
and frugal.

I will remember you
every day of my life
because the impression you left
was deep and lasting.

I will miss you forever.


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