2015 11 20
Though these are the weird days of crazy news,
when far away in distant crowded lands,
from which my dead ancestors sailed away,
new waves of immigrants cross fields of mist,
I remember the story that none knew
and was never passed down as family lore
how the grim and pious farmer one day
lead his wife and eight children on dirt road
to escape endless wars that burned green Prussia
west from their homeland to sail over sea
and find a new home in land of the free.
Sailing to New York twenty years before
the bright Statue of Liberty was built,
they stumbled from the merchant ship at dawn,
clutching bags of clothes and mute memories,
and gazed dazed at teeming crowds of strange folk
in many-footed Manhattan who seek
treasures at the end of rainbows that shine
far west over nameless hills after rain,
so they ride a wagon past giant towers
into meadows where cows graze among flowers.
Face wrinkled as red leather of horse hide,
old Wilhelm turns to his youngest shy daughter
and points to the eagle that glides on wind
and explains, "Now we are free from cruel hate,
and like Moses lead our ancestors west
to the promised land, where we may again
plant the Garden of Eden on the shore
of a lush river where we may live free,
this eagle leads us west to Minnesota."
Her heart beating wild with gold gusting wind
that blows over rolling hills of Ohio
and across endless plains of Illinois,
Bertha gazes at broad blue sky of hope
where silver clouds shimmer with ache of love,
and spies the moon, half lit with gold sunlight
and half dim in shadow of restless fear,
then grins to herself at amusing thought.
"This is the same sky full of shining clouds
and the same moon that whispers my true name
which I saw when I played among the oaks
just last summer on Wartha River shore.
Will I find the same meadows of red flowers
when we arrive home west in Minnesota
as I saw in the land of my lost dreams?"