Court Street Press

The Immigrant

He came, an immigrant, my father's father
to these lush valleys, marshlands, streams,
the hills glacier-scraped to subsoil,
glacier-covered with stones, gravel and silt.
On land grown over with fir and alder, he found
timber for house and barn, wood for cooking
in the dark mornings and long, dark afternoons
of rainy winters, green and damp as any
Norweigian spring, a paradise. With work

and luck, a lot of work—and luck is what you make it—
a man could raise a family here, build
a farm to last through all the generations.
No more beatings at the hands of the sea, no more
renting land,
no more logging for the bosses.
A wife, children, beds filling room
after room, and neighbors near enough
to help but not to crowd. A man could live a life

and forget how things change beyond calculation:
children grown and gone, the barn slowly
melting into the earth of its timbers,
family and farm both long alterered,
his hard-shelled dreams now gone to weed,
though he'd find traces still of what he planted.

from The Immigrant, by J Yarrow © 1984

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  • Handbound, soft cover chapbook
  • Rice paper end leaves
  • 7 x 9, 28 pages
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