Evening exploring my grandmother Kaelyn’s
China cabinet, dusty crystal, cups of coins,
Yet green fire-glazed teapot caught my eye.
I felt generational family history brewing.
Why would she keep an old spout-chipped
Teapot, patina decades acquired. Grands
Had others in daily use. Perhaps my mother
Would reveal its ancestral appeal.
Conversation began with machine-made
Coffee. Silent solemnity, aside for spoons
Ringing as we stirred in morning mugs. Was
It some unknown family disgrace? Mother
Shook her head “no,” nothing like that, not
Stolid, Irish Catholics turned Mainers. “It
Marked beginning and almost end of our
Family,” mom said, recalling memories.
Over the years, family grew, stair-stepped
Brothers and sisters: Shayla, Derek, Ashlyn,
Justin. I was eldest, strongest of the four.
When flu and fevers descended on Maine
Coastal fishing villages and farms, families,
Specially children and elderly died. We were
All stricken with illness, even Papa, too.
Every household lost someone.
Your grands practiced Irish medicine, some
Would say pagan or traditional, clutching
Her rosary, chants and prayers to Jesus and
Mary, mother made medicinal herbal teas,
Forcing honey-sweetened sips, wiping our
Brow, but young Justin died just before dawn.
Tea and teapot saved our family. She said
It has healing spirit; never throw it away.
That afternoon the green teapot became mine,
Precious family heirloom. My inclination was
Simply storing it away. Yet, to me it spoke, to
Learn about herbal medicine, my Irish past,
Embracing who and what I really was, Mainer
Woman with ancient healing ties, wisdom of
Herb growing, basil and rosemary, extracts of
Tree barks, berries, flower heads wind-waving.
Witches’ Garden: “Where basil grows, no evil goes.”