A Poem about Memory: The Foremothers

The Foremothers

On the wings of a butterfly,

on a feather’s breath of memory,

their stories,

their spirits resonate.

I see these women, my ancestors,

with their courage, humor, and tenacity.

In my mind I can taste their cooking,

Hear their old world accents,

See their kitchens.

Feel the texture of their lives.


A Visual Poem for the Foremothers Project: Wings of Memory: And Still She Rises

This monotype print is entitled Wings of Memory: And Still She Rises. Using imagery from nature–the butterfly, leaf shapes and the swirl of wind, my Foremothers print evokes the way memories float into our consciousness. As we become aware of the influence of our foremothers, our past merges with the present moment. Through the seeds they planted in us, our Foremothers continue to influence our lives. To see the other prints I made for the Foremothers Project, please visit my Foremothers gallery page. https://robinbrooksart.com/figure-collage/

And Still She Rises, monotype print, 20 x 15 inches, 2021

Two of my foremothers: Great Aunt Fannie, and my Nanny, Sarah Brooks.

As young women, Fannie and Sarah became good friends. Fannie told me how Sarah helped her after the birth of her son, my dad’s cousin Manny. It was during the great Depression and times were hard. With no money in her pocket, Sarah bartered with the butcher for a half chicken. With the chicken, she cooked up a pot of hot soup for Fannie, providing her strength and nourishment so she could nurse her baby.

This is my Great Aunt Fannie, Yiddish poet, social activist, gregarious hostess and wonderful cook. She was my grandfather Bennie’s younger sister. Fannie came to the United States with Bennie from a village near Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine) that was called Proscurov.
This is my paternal grandmother Sarah Brooks nee Schuhalter. She was Bennie’s wife, a homemaker, mother to four children, and “Nanny” to ten grandchildren. She came from a small village called Ysutta, also in the Pale of Settlement in what was then Russia, now Ukraine.