YYC POP: Poetic Portraits of Poetry, a Sheri-D Wilson Laureate Project

Grandmothers to Grandmothers

– B. Joanne Underwood

I thought I’d write a little bit about a gal I know
who loves to organize her group, inspire, knit and sew.
About a dozen years ago, she found there was a need
’cause grandmothers in Africa, they had to clothe and feed
and educate and medicate themselves and all the kids–
the kids whose parents all had died of HIV and AIDS.
So “Em” (that’s not her name of course) set out to raise some cash;
she sewed some purses, bags and such and then, well, off she’d dash
to Millarville, the market there, with all its Christmas stuff;
she’d sell her goods and then donate the funds–’twas ne’er enough.
So Em decided then and there to start a little group;
Ujamaa Grandmas it is called; it’s quite the busy troop.
With lots of help from many hands our Em has followed through,
donating dollars (million plus!)–the SLF* just grew.
And now she’s making “climate coats”;  again, she sees a need,
for climate change is on us all and we had better heed.
“Reduce, reuse, recycle” isn’t new, but it’s the way
for us to care for Planet Earth and do it every day.
Em designed a climate coat with little lights aglow–
and wore it there at Beakerhead, technology on show.
The climate coats the Grandmas make from denim in old jeans
will all be hand-embroidered with the help of local teens.
A fashion show and then a sale will guarantee more dough
to aid the grans in Africa and ease their tales of woe.
I thank you Em, the Grandmas too, for working for no fee,
contributing to what we hold so dear in YYC!

*Stephen Lewis Foundation

B. Joanne Underwood

Joanne Underwood is a sometimes-poet who enjoys wordplay and rhyme and keeping it simple. Her poems about family and friends can be found on the blueskiespoetry.ca website as well as in their Home and Away and Writing the Land anthologies. She recently made the shortlist in Geist magazine’s work shanty contest.

Photo of B. Joanne Underwood