My Favourite Person

The Living Poetry prompt – kinfolk

my favourite childhood memory is
curling up to my great grandmother
listening to her sharing stories of her life

I got to know her nine brothers and their fate
one was an infant death
another died in a city bombing
two were sold as slaves
four were lost in war
one was too weak to go on

I met great grandfather from her smile
teenaged bride and young groom
he was handsome and dashing
a captain of the navy
served the Qing Emperor
died young at the sea

she was a widow at thirty-five
sent off the concubine with golds and silvers
escaped two wars with her two boys and a blind mother

she fed her family by serving in a colonial mansion
where she witnessed the good life of pet dogs
she wished her next life came back as a fluffy white puppy

when great grandmother reached retirement age
the cultural revolution broke out
she was sent to the Black Hill carrying mud for construction
and was sent home after contracting tuberculosis

when she was seventy years old
she ran a family day care
and home sewing business

I used to tell her I love her
when I grew up
I would travel to Spain
to make a good living
and I would send her 99 pesetas each month
so she would have a good life in old age

when I was a teenager
she rebuked my parents not letting me wear crop tops
she also told me not to marry a white man
because they have big penises

the last question she asked me was
“When are you coming home to see me?”
I said
“When I save up enough money to buy a plane ticket.”
great grandmother passed when she was ninety-seven
she dropped like a ripened fruit from a tree
peaceful and fulfilled

I did not make it to her funeral
that remains to be my greatest regret
till this day



(My great grandmother Zhou Weiying 1904 – 2001)


Author: Cassa Bassa

πŸ‡¦πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¨πŸ‡³ inquisitive, observant, witty, a thinker, was a misfitΒ child 😊

15 thoughts on “My Favourite Person”

  1. Great poem! It made me wonder, as a genealogist, how good the records are in China. In Britain, almost everything is in church records but it’s tough to get back more than 400 or 500 years. Do you know how easy/hard genealogical research is in China?


    1. I suspect it will be difficult because when the Han took over the Man (Qing Empire), lots remaining Man people changed their surnames or IDs to survive the persecution. My great grandfather would have been Man but in our record showned as Han.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “she dropped like a ripened fruit from a tree
    peaceful and fulfilled” 😒 so touching! πŸŒŸπŸ’πŸ™ˆ


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