Tuesday Poem: “My Ancestors Live” by Christina Stachurski
My Ancestors Live
My ancestors live in libraries
now, in tiny type on microfiche,
births, marriages and deaths
reduced to lists and photocopies
of sketchy cemetery maps leading
to names cut in stone, blurred
by decades – some more
than a century – of Taranaki rain.
The museum’s photograph index
brings up very old images
of Rosalia and Maria
with their husbands and babies,
their Polish bones, my nose.
© Christina Stachurski
Published in Flap: The Chook Book 2, 2010
Reproduced here with permission.
About the Poem:
I love the sense of history in this poem and the way the narrative shifts from the past and those who have gone before, to the presence and continuance in that ‘clincher’ final line: “their Polish bones, my nose.”
“My Ancestors Live” is the poem that introduces Christina’s sequence in Flap: The Chook Book 2 (2010), an anthology featuring the work of four Christchurch poets: Victoria Broome, Catherine Fitchett, Barbara McCartney and Christina Stachurski.
About the Poet:
After acting out the saints and martyrs at primary school, Christina found heaven on earth in a converted billiard saloon, The Cue Theatre in Inglewood.
At university in Christchurch, she carried on acting while studying drama. In her Master of Arts (1993) she studied ancient to modern drama and wrote a thesis entitled Foreskin’s Legacy: Gender, Sex and Violence in Recent New Zealand Theatre.
Christina has a doctorate in New Zealand Literature from the University of Canterbury, and teaches there and at the Hagley Writers’ Institute.