I AM…

Updated: Feb 25

My heritage through words as an identity.


I am from books lining the shelf of an old library with the collected works of literature, philosophy, art, spirituality, science and nature, and from historical places that leave traces of the human souls that once walked the land.


I am from a lineage of people who once lived in the “City of God and the Frying Pans”, the home of copper pots situated in the heart of a French countryside surrounded by rivers and valleys, where snowy owls slept in the dovecote and where caramels and cheese were produced in local farms.


I am vibrant colors, sweeping landscapes of sprawling green fields and hilly pastures. I am weeping willows scraping the surface of water and diverse flowers appearing to have been plucked from one of Monet’s canvases.


Village of Hambye, France

Then again, I am from the bays, the harbors, sandy beaches, rocky inlets and sheer cliffs. I am a stable, cowshed, pressing and printing room, a parlor and vestry. I am old furniture fit for a Shakespearean play, tapestries, and paintings of nature’s stillness, beauty and grace.


Abbey of Hambye

My sister has traced our ancestry roots. We are from the descendants of Roger d’Hambye who in 1019 travelled to England and became the forefather for a strong line of Hamby’s (he dropped the “e” in the name), the most noted was Sir William Hamby who in 1614 maintained a large library of written books which was so massive in volume and diversity that it was unheard of during his time, and his gravestone was a full replica of himself that relatives placed in his honor out of great respect.


Spiritually, I am from a long line of healing voices, tender hearts and strong connections to strict silence out of respect for others when deep in stillness. Fraternal love has been our guiding light as early as the 10th century. In the family, I am the Protector of Souls traveling far and wide to seek out people I’ve known before.


Flemish from the Hambye Abbey, Hambye, France

On my mother’s side, I am a descendant of Sir John de Sutton VI of England. As Lord Steward in 1422, he brought home the body of King Henry V to England, and was chief mourner and carried the standard of King Henry V at his funeral. He had a long and successful career in the service of the royal court. Amongst his many appointments, he held the lieutenancy of Ireland and he fought throughout the wars with France and was a firm supporter of the House of Lancaster in the Wars of the Roses.


–genece hamby


The above is called an Identity Poem — if you’d like to write one about who you are, here’s the template that will help prompt your poem.

I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.

I am from the _______ (home description… adjective, adjective, sensory detail).

I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)

I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).

I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).

From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).

I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.

I’m from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).

From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).

I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

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