Catharsis 1906

Ship of dreamers
homeland left behind.
We cross vast seas,
anxiety churned by pitching waves.

Land nears.
Hope rekindled,
we stand tall,
crane to see her torch.

Hands clasped, excitement peaks.
Grinning widely we circle round,
dance exuberantly
as she comes into view.

We are joyful Swedes,
ready to begin anew.


Brian Miller, founder of dVerse, helps us celebrate the pub’s 8th anniversary today by providing the prompt. He wants us to capture a moment in our poem, reminding us that moments come with a context. The happenings before and after the moment. Today I write motivated by a Hallberg family photo, taken in 1906, at the moment Hjalmer Hallberg and friends saw the Statue of Liberty, when coming to this country from Sweden. I write in the first person, trying to imagine this moment.

20 thoughts on “Catharsis 1906

  1. Grace July 14, 2020 / 3:14 pm

    Such hope and excitement for the new land, new country and new journey. I can relate and hope the journey for these folks have been good.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. waystationone July 14, 2020 / 3:16 pm

    Whew. Can you imagine that moment back in the day considering many came fleeing something. Also coming by ship had to have its stresses as well. Finally seeing something after being at sea.

    And the beautiful lady and what she symbolized. A freedom. I imagine there were lots of emotions running thru them that only dance could express.



  3. kim881 July 14, 2020 / 3:23 pm

    A fabulous photo for inspiration, Lill! I can’t imagine what that moment must have been like, that first glimpse of Lady Liberty after such a difficult journey. Just the thought of those left behind must have been hard when travelling all that way, and then land is in sight with a whole new life.


  4. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) July 14, 2020 / 4:14 pm

    There were so many leaving Sweden at that time. Most fled poverty, but I think there were many many reasons. Of course, I reflect back how different Sweden was in 1906… but it could have been my grandparents… my father was born in 1917…


  5. sanaarizvi July 14, 2020 / 4:39 pm

    Fabulous picture, Lillian! I can only imagine the excitement, the relief and anticipation that followed 😀


  6. Beverly Crawford July 14, 2020 / 4:50 pm

    What a wonderful capture of a special moment in your family history. Battered by time and calamity, the lady still holds the torch.


  7. Glenn A. Buttkus July 14, 2020 / 5:58 pm

    Your poem is resplendent, capturing a monumental emotional moment; love it. Yet it brings to mind today, when immigrants are not welcome, and the Lady looks away .


  8. Lucy July 14, 2020 / 6:58 pm

    I love this! It’s written so beautifully and I’m in awe at the imagery especially in its historical context. Amazing work here! ❤️


  9. Nancy Jahnke July 14, 2020 / 8:38 pm

    This is heartwarming! I’ve never seen this picture, but it sparks the sentimentality that always works its way to my heart when I think of Grandma and Grandpa! Well done, Lill! Love it! 🧙🏽‍♂️🥰

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian July 14, 2020 / 8:39 pm

      Would you like a copy of the photo? We have it framed on our bookshelf as do Abbey and Aaron.


  10. Sherry Marr July 14, 2020 / 10:09 pm

    What a fabulous photo, and a wonderful moment captured.


  11. rothpoetry July 14, 2020 / 10:12 pm

    I thought this was about a trip you took! I love your twist at the end to the immigrants seeing America for the first time.


  12. Jane Dougherty July 15, 2020 / 9:22 am

    I’m glad the people in the photo look so happy. I wonder how many arrived with feelings of dread and terror, not knowing what reception they would receive, what it would be like to be swallowed alive by a city? I think I probably would have done.


  13. lovemorestudio July 15, 2020 / 10:20 am

    A wonderful slice of history! Thank you for sharing this! Jason


  14. Mary (tqhousecat) July 15, 2020 / 11:01 am

    You placed me there, for a moment I wondered, “Am I a Swede?” Haha!


  15. V.J. Knutson July 15, 2020 / 3:37 pm

    My husband’s grandmother emigrated from Sweden – way back when – I always wonder what that was like.


  16. whippetwisdom July 15, 2020 / 5:25 pm

    What an exciting journey and new beginning for them Lillian and what a photograph to treasure! 💜 xxx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s