Immigrants

Our ancestors. Our families.
They sailed through rough seas.
They worked hard, dreamed big.
We are us because of them.
Their identities may fade but
Their determination remains apparent.
Pictured and posed in family albums,
They live on in sepia tones.

 

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. It’s Meet The Bar Thursday (MTB) and Frank hosts, asking us to write a Reverse Poem. Read it top to bottom. Read it bottom to top. Line by line. It makes sense both ways. Quite challenging! 

Photos:
Left:  Hjalmer Siegfried Hallberg, born in Sweden, 1884. Arrived Ellis Island, NY at age 22, in 1906. My husband’s grandfather.
Right: Adam Gruenwald, born 1857 in Germany. Arrived in U.S. in 1880. Grandfather to my father. 

And here it is in reverse, including the same punctuation at the end of each line.

Immigrants

They live on in sepia tones.
Pictured and posed in family albums,
Their determination remains apparent.
Their identities may fade but
We are us because of them.
They worked hard, dreamed big.
They sailed through rough seas.
Our ancestors. Our families.

38 thoughts on “Immigrants

  1. V.J. Knutson August 16, 2018 / 12:00 pm

    This is challenging! Yes, our ancestors fled persecution, starvation, and dreamed of a better life. Not much different than those who do so nowadays. Love the photos.

    Like

    • lillian August 16, 2018 / 5:29 pm

      Yes, I succeeded at that, but not at having two different meanings in the two reads. Maybe I’ll work a little bit more at it😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jane Dougherty August 16, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    Interesting that the message is the same reading it both ways.

    Like

    • lillian August 16, 2018 / 5:30 pm

      Yes. I just couldn’t,t get two different meanings – may have to work at it a bit more and post a second on the same theme.

      Like

      • Jane Dougherty August 17, 2018 / 8:42 am

        I tried again this morning and got a better one. The brain needs to be pretty perky to get anything like what’s intended.

        Like

  3. kim881 August 16, 2018 / 3:46 pm

    I’m amazed you kept the same punctuation forwards and backwards, Lill! I cheated and didn’t use any. 🙂 What a story to tell, Lill, of those ancestor who live on in sepia tones. You most certainly nailed the form and met the bar!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 16, 2018 / 5:31 pm

      Thanks, Kim. What a tricky form and I am incr dulous at those who did this AND had opposing meanings in the two reads.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Grace August 16, 2018 / 6:05 pm

    I can understand their/our story Lillian and I thank you for sharing your family’s photos. We are certainly who we are today because of them.

    I believe there is trick to the reversal form like trying out different perspectives or emotions. A challenge to tickle our brains, certainly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 17, 2018 / 7:40 am

      Yep — tried and tried to have two different meanings – 1 in the forward and 1 in the backward. That escaped me – but I do like the way this turned out so I’m satisfied.

      Like

  5. Adda August 16, 2018 / 6:22 pm

    Amazing!!! Love the photos and the poem is so smooth both forward and backwards… Kudos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 17, 2018 / 7:40 am

      Ah, you always make me smile, Adda 🙂

      Like

  6. lynn__ August 16, 2018 / 8:02 pm

    I am curious about those immigrant ancestors and enjoy looking at old photos…in sepia tones

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 17, 2018 / 7:42 am

      I did some genealogical research; found old photos; talked with relatives. Put together albums for both my children that started with their ancestry and took them all the way to when their own wedding days. Very fun to do! Of course my album isn’t finished yet but I did get theirs done as Christmas gifts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • lynn__ August 18, 2018 / 9:02 am

        Wonderful gift!

        Like

    • lillian August 17, 2018 / 7:42 am

      Thanks! 🙂 Thought with everything in the news about immigrants it would be good to write this one.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Gospel Isosceles August 16, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    You see determination when looking into their faces, which is not an uncommon trait one applies to ancestors. I wonder if they thought of themselves as that too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 17, 2018 / 7:43 am

      We have a fabulous photo of Hjalmer holding hands with about six other gentlemen, dancing a jig on the ship the USS Sweden – we’ve been told that this was when they first saw the statue of liberty. 🙂

      Like

  8. purplepeninportland August 17, 2018 / 2:14 pm

    Love that you included the photos, Lillian. I have many of the same type. Beautiful poem forward and back.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Candy August 17, 2018 / 2:50 pm

    I love how history loops back on itself. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Glenn Buttkus August 17, 2018 / 4:24 pm

    Coming in late, but on the trail now. Your reversing works perfectly–cohesively. Don’t worry about how the emphasis or message changes–that’s part of the magic of the form./ I believe we have used this form here before. Gosh how the years fly by.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 28, 2018 / 12:58 pm

      Glad you enjoyed, Glenn. Have been out of comission for about 2 weeks….some medical issues that were a bit scarey but all turned out good. So I’m back on the dVerse trail again and smiling. Happy. Thankful for every day! 🙂 So I apologize for not answering more quickly and can’t even remember if I read others’ posts for this prompt? Starting fresh as of yesterday’s “earth” prompt 🙂

      Like

  11. Paul Sunstone August 26, 2018 / 9:52 pm

    I probably shouldn’t be such a bore as to take sides, but I prefer the reverse.

    Other than that, the poem struck me as very well crafted.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 28, 2018 / 12:58 pm

      Well….I think that’s part of the magic of this form….one can choose which way one likes the best 🙂

      Like

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