The poem “Where I Come From” by Elizabeth Brewster speaks about how a person’s birthplace impacts their character. Wherever you enter life, you will bring with you memories and echoes of your birthplace, where it’s a city, as in the first verse or the peaceful countryside as in the 2nd verse. This concept shows us that who we are is shaped by where we were born and where we grew up. It’s written in totally free verse. The first verse has a conversational tone to it, it’s philosophical.
It discusses the fast paced city life, and how in a city everything runs like clockwork.
The very first 2 lines itself informs us about the theme of the poem; “individuals are made of locations”. The poet has written a simple sentence which makes it more powerful, and increases clarity. The poet has actually used a complete stop after this declaration that makes the reader pause and think of the declaration.
“They bring with them tips of jungles or mountains, a tropic grace or the cool eyes of sea-gazers”, jungle and mountain are 2 contrasting landscapes. Some individuals’s actions reflect their birth place. The expression “sea-gazers” provides a soothing result of the sea.
The calm and perseverance possessed by the people living near the sea. The word “tropic” is used as an adjective, it creates harmony. The various regions that the poet has portrayed convey variety. The next line, “Atmosphere of cities how different drops from them. “, the author is speaking about how differently the city life affects the people that live there, and how atmospherically city life modifications considerably.
The poet has actually utilized alliteration, which produces a harsh noise, which contrasts the relaxing effect given earlier. The usage of word “drop” makes it appear careless.
The phrase “like smell of smog” is a simile, not a pleasant image. Here, the poet is pointing out the pollution and claustrophobia of city life. The poet has also used sibilance. The next line, “the almost-not-smell of tulips in the spring” talks about how the flowers of spring are starting to blossom, although they are not fully produced and grown, the smell of the tulips can’t be appreciated due to the smells of the city. The tulips could be representing the people, cause tulips are pretty and expensive, they don’t grow wild and are very restrained, a lot like the people in the city.
Tulips are also very artificial, like the people. The poet has used olfactory imagery in the phrase “almost-not-smell”. In the next line, the idea of the city being organized and tidily planned out is introduced; “nature tidily plotted in little squares with a fountain in the center”. This line tells the reader that nature still exists in city life but it is restricted. “Little squares” shows the sense of restriction, how it’s boxed in also suggesting claustrophobia. This line indicates how man in the city tames nature and how people in the city have a desire for control.
“The fountain” suggests how man interferes with nature. In the next line, “museum smell” gives a sense of history and a sense of something preserved. Art represents free thought and creativity, and in this line we can see that even man’s creativity is controlled and plotted. The ‘’guidebook” can be a metaphor for life, and how people in the city try to control everything. The word “tidy” again shows us how the people of the city are obsessed with planning and organization.