No Reservations Required

A hand-stitched sundress
                        brushing against
            who did not see their own greatness
Too young to join
            their chirping, chopping, stirring, and frying
            I twirled through unapologetic thighs
                        pillars of strength surrounding me
            I admired their prominent hips,
                        womanly figures draped with flowing skirts,
                        some adorned with aprons
            Each southern beauty wore a crown
                        of locks,
                        some teased some curled
                        some brunette some golden
            except for the youngest – the hippy sister
                        who wore flare jeans and natural hair
                        and had a lava lamp in her bedroom

Busy hands tending and working in the kitchen
            hands not ordering takeout or making reservations
Each woman an island knitted together in a familial sea
            love and turbulence, sometimes crashing
Not delicate debutantes, but strong and resourceful women
            who once picked cotton and raised dozens of children between them
            who still know the reward and exhaustion from a hard day’s work

Striking sisters
            who made a statement with their beautiful presence
            who have never fully embraced their greatness

This poem is dedicated to my mom and her six sisters and the countless other caretakers who nourish their families with homecooked meals day after day, year after year: an underrated act of selfless love.

My mom and most of her sisters were raised on a farm in Arkansas. They know hardship and hard work. They also know how to feed a small army with delicious Southern homestyle!

In honor of National Women’s Month, I am sharing two more poems from my Strong Woman Library.

“Vintage Strength” (features my daughter’s art)

“How to Triumph Like a Girl” (recitation of U.S. Poet Laureate’s work)

Thank you for visiting and reading. Be well. πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ³ Michele

Photo 1: by Rawpixel Photo 2: by Brent Hofacker

Β© 2023 MyInspiredLife

83 thoughts on “No Reservations Required

  1. Very very true and inspiring poem to read , so touching πŸ™β™₯οΈπŸ‘πŸ» this earth 🌎 all beautiful girls and women
    Want to live with their parents and husbands happily ,that is my prayers πŸ™πŸŒΉπŸ™Œ The boys and girls get love and happiness from their parents they can make heaven their life πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘ So lovely your mother and sisters did theirs
    Family life so graceful , nice to read πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ’•we also 6 girls and last one brother , our family my pride always πŸ™The song also so sweet πŸ‘ŒπŸ’grace wishes dear friend πŸ’œπŸ’

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your honoring and loving words, Thattamma. 🌹 Your posts are equally honoring of your beautiful family. Heartwarming to witness. πŸ’— My mom had three brothers (two have passed). I am pleased you enjoyed the song. Thanks for your generous spirt. Best wishes to you, amazing strong woman! Have a wonderful evening. πŸŒƒ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much for this lovely reply message and most welcome always πŸŒΉπŸ™β™₯️✍️ my grandchildren admiring you always , I showed them your
        Photo , so happily they all and talking you are so tall, beautiful eyes,and
        hair colour and they like you so much dear friend πŸ₯°πŸ’•grace wishes πŸ‘

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am grateful for your visit and read. Thank you, Susan! I am glad you could picture my words – even if I had a photo of the gathering that inspired my poem, I would not have had time to get everyone’s permission to publish. πŸ˜† Perhaps someday. Growing up around those women has provided me with a lifetime of ideas and stories. 😁 I am glad you enjoyed the song – a beautiful song that I love singing. Perhaps I will share my singing voice someday too. 🎀 Enjoy your week, photographer extraordinaire!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Poetpas

    A wonderful tribute to all the southern women!!

    There’s something about Southern women that is so unique yet so universal. Strong southern women are allowed to be soft and feminine and have a sense of humor. But what I love about Southern women in particular is their universality.

    Southern girls are God’s gift to the entire male population. There is absolutely no woman finer than one raised below the Mason-Dixon line and once you go southern may the good Lord help you never go back.

    And when a Southern woman offers you a homecooked meal, you’re only rude if you refuse. That goes for seconds and thirds too, by the way…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your enthusiastic tribute to southern women. A delight to read! It occurred to me yesterday, that with all of my honoring of strong women over the last three years, that I had not properly acknowledged the strong southern women in my life. Lots of learning and laughing, yes, and a never-ending source of stories, should I choose to write. ✍🏻

      Your words would make my aunts smile and they would have made my southern grandma blush, and you are absolutely right – arrive hungry and plan on going back for more! 😁

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I value learning that you can feel my respect and love. So true. Abundant gratitude for my many lessons and experiences. Never a shortage of delicious food or lively exchanges! πŸ˜„ Thanks too, Joy, for sharing a line that stood out to you. πŸ™πŸ»

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a beautiful tribute to the lovely beauties who created n contributed to your family, I admire each of them. This also resonates with most of the women around the world. Great poetry dear Doll. Your art of writing would never allow the reader to distract from completing it completely with an amazing feel. Wish you tge happiness n joy πŸ€—πŸ₯°β€β€πŸ§‘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beautifully written. πŸ™πŸ» I believe their story, of hard work, perseverance, and sacrifice, is a relatable one, yes. Laughter is a saving grace. Thank you, sweet strong Suma, for engaging with and appreciating my poetry. Wishing you the very best! πŸ’—πŸ’


    1. Thank you very much, Pat, for affirming what I set out to accomplish – honoring my personal connection to strong women while connecting them to the larger, universal womanhood, particularly those who nurture. πŸ’ž Like you wrote-they are found in every culture. The strong foundation!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I am so glad. Thanks for sharing a bit about your own large family, Nicole. Being able to cook/bake is a matter of survival for most large families, especially true for older generations that did not have access to the many conveniences we now have. Too many perhaps. I enjoy cooking. 😊


  4. Oh my goodness Michele my Belle, what a beautiful, powerful, and empowering poem. Women of our mother’s time could whip up a meal for an army, invited or not, from little or nothing and everyone was fed and full. There was no take out, no microwaving, no shortcuts, just love and loving what they do. Talk about some mighty fine women who really didn’t know how great they really are. πŸ₯°πŸ’–πŸ€—πŸ™πŸΌπŸ˜Š Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful tribute, from a beautiful heir. 😍πŸ₯‚πŸ˜˜πŸ¦‹πŸŒž

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, most gracious and beautiful Southern Belle! 🌹 Right you are! My grandmother could whip up a seven-course meal ten minutes after you stepped through her door, and she wouldn’t have it any other way! Planned gatherings were something else! Come one, come all, bring your appetite, your best dishes, and your willingness to make more! πŸ˜† Talent, hard work, beauty, and modesty with a splash of sass! 🌸🧨🌸 And the expressions! Oh, how I miss my grandmother! We shared lots of laughs, and pies. πŸ˜‚ Hugs to you, Kymbelina! πŸ’—

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Honey, and sometimes these women would have their aprons on, cooking and lookin’ like June Clever from Leave it To Beaver! 🍜🍲πŸ₯£ I know what you mean about remember those contagious laughs. Oh how I miss them too. Thank goodness for the beautiful memories. Love that Michele my Dancin’ Machine! πŸŽΆπŸ’ƒπŸΌπŸŽ§ Hugs and smooches sweetie pie! 😘πŸ₯§πŸ˜Š

        Liked by 1 person

    1. A dying art, it seems. My grandmother, also raised on a farm in Arkansas, said they canned and pickled different veggies and they never went hungry. I am glad you made a personal connection to my poem. Thanks, Art!


  5. What an intricate sororal tapestry you have woven, Michele, with its culinary imagery jumping off the page and onto our plates! This is a sisterly camaraderie I can relate to. My mother was the most comfortable in one of two places – sitting behind a sewing machine or standing at the stove surrounded by cousins and aunts. Whichever station she chose, the fruits of her labors were incredible. I raise my glass to women everywhere … those who can and do and those who can’t but keep trying. Beautiful writing, Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “Each woman an island knitted together in a familial sea
    love and turbulence, sometimes crashing”
    Such beautiful lines, Michele. It’s good to be surrounded by women who are strong, inspirational and not afraid of being who they really are. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Absolutely so beautiful to read from you again! I love all the women you describe and honor and can think of a few I know who fit the same – the warmth of home-cooked food is a comfort and nourishment that is felt to the core if received fully with the same love and gratitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Michele, I purchased your poetry series now that I finally managed to get the Kindle app on my laptop working. I’m looking forward to emerging myself in your affirmative, beautiful poetry this weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

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