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.

Come Inside My Haibun

He was an immigrant. A painter. A Swede who arrived at Ellis Island many years ago. I was privileged, as were many, to experience his journey in a most unlikely place. A basement room, in Chicago, Illinois.

Entering that underground space, we stepped onto a ship sailing across the mighty Atlantic. Sky cerulean blue overhead, dipped to meet the horizon, forever brightened by an invisible sun. Gulls hovered above waves rolling with white caps, dabs of paint that never splashed. We sat in the midst of many family celebrations, our chairs backed up against basement walls, as if leaning on Grampa Hallberg’s painted ship rails. A lifeless life preserver hung never-used, drawn not quite round.  It was a room like no other. It was the USS Sweden, frozen in time.

young beaver crosses pond
gathers sticks and stones and spring time mud –
journey revealed in lodge

IMG_1484

It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets and I’m hosting today – asking everyone to delve into the traditional … and at the same time, take us on a trip into an interior they remember from their past. A room they can recall.

The Haibun must include 2 or 3 tight paragraphs of prose describing the interior (cannot be fiction); followed by a traditional haiku: 5-7-5 or short-long-short in syllabic form; must be about nature; must include a kigo (reference to a season) and a kireji (a cut achieved by a hyphen, ellipsis, or punctuation mark, that shifts to an added insight within the haiku.

Photo: Grampa Hajalmer Hallberg on the left in 1972, two years before his death. He immigrated from Sweden in 1906 at the age of 22. He’s sitting in the basement he painted to remind him of his journey to America on the USS Sweden.