deep roots

Amish family


This is a long and often tragic story, which I will summarize: My maternal grandfather was raised Amish. He never joined the church as an adult, but instead married my Mennonite grandmother. They had six children , but died within two years of each other when the children were little. My mother was raised Methodist, but became a Catholic after she married my Irish Catholic father.  When I was in my fifties, I discovered I had a small army of Amish second cousins.

Here’s a poem I wrote about that:


An Only Child on the Family Tree


It’s a European Mountain Ash.

Sometimes called a Rowan tree, it likes

light, peaty soil.

Its pale brown wood, tough and strong,

makes tool handles, cart wheels.

The juice of its berries

heals the bowels.

Its magical powers

revered by Druids.

This one came from Switzerland, though.

Sprouted from an Amish seed

rooted in Pennsylvania.


The trunk set deep aggressive roots

in Leacock township, close to Paradise.

Thickened by weather and loamy earth,

the tough trunk sent out

long branches, branching out from each other

with dozens of offspring from each marriage.

Amazing in May

with its spray of white flowers.


People with no electricity,

terse and clannish,

black pants flapping on the clotheslines.

Women with bare feet like cudgels,

walking behind the plough.

Well tended buggies

drawn by dashing horses,

mahogany hides gleaming

along the narrow roads.


One old twig

growing on an orphaned branch

of a larger branch

broken off by a long ago storm,

I’m looking for a way

for the tree to take me back.



ancient oak


<a href=””>Roots</a&gt;

Published by ahiggins2013

poet, birder, senior citizen, cancer survivor, Catholic sister. Eight books of poetry published: At the Year’s Elbow, Mellen Poetry Press 2000; Scattered Showers in a Clear Sky, Plain View Press 2007; chapbooks: Pick It Up and Read, Finishing Line Press 2008, How the Hand Behaves, Finishing Line Press 2009, Digging for God, Wipf and Stock 2010, Vexed Questions, Aldrich Press 2013, Reconnaissance, Texture Press 2014, and Life List, Finishing Line Press, 2015.

3 thoughts on “deep roots

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

The religious imagineer

Where the fire and the rose are one

Gaudium et Spes 22

by Dr. Larry Chapp

Tikorangi The Jury Garden

Mark and Abbie Jury

I Love To Go A Gardening

Growing Our Life in Northern Michigan

Wonders in the Dark

Cinema, music, opera, books, television, theater

Mason Street

The literary magazine of Newark Public Library

Morse, Lewis and Endeavour

Welcome to the Morse Universe

Shades of My Garden

a window into a life, a conversation with a soul, a gateway to a heart

Slouching Towards Senescence

Aging woman reads, steeps tea, feeds cats and is ridiculous.....

Gather Victoria


Kate Macdonald

about writing, reading and publishing

The Lore of the Garden

Myths, legends, folklore, fairytales about flora, fauna and sacred landscapes


Dominican Preaching through Word and Image

My little corner of the world.

Faith, love, and listening to the language of the world.


meandering through, writing about whatever strikes my fancy

“But I ask myself, What must I do to make my life a true story?”

Jeffrey Levine

poetry, publishing, and mentoring

Creative Spiritual Directions

... reflections to inspire creative spiritual directions ... ... . . . .

%d bloggers like this: