05 February 2009

To My Ancestors

I see you toiling down the tedious years
You bearded, bent, and gaunt old pioneers
Sowing and reaping, sowing once again,
In patience for an unborn race of men.

I see you struggling in the wilderness
Where failure meant starvation and success.
A cabin in the clearing, roughhewn, rude,
Garments of homespun, and the humblest food.

Tradition scarcely tells me whence you came,
I only know a few of you by name;
I only know you lived and multiplied,
Quite profligate in progeny, and died.

Yet in my heart, I know that most of you
Were strong and steadfast, and that one or two
At least, had weaknesses that still may be
Traced in the trend of atavistic me.

One, I am sure, was blest with Irish wit;
(I'm thankful he transmitted some of it.)
That helped him dodge Dame Fortune's swiftest dart,
And meet misfortune with a merry heart.

One was a rather worthless wight, I fear,
Who, when the bluebird whistled Spring was near,
Forsook his plow--a shiftless, sluggard one--
And roamed the woods alone, with rod and gun.

And one a gentle dreamer was I know,
Who lured by shadows, let the substance go.
'Twas he who dared the raging western sea--
I'm glad he handed down his dreams to me.

I found this poem in a family history book that my Mother's cousin had started. The caption reads, "From Chicago Tribune Detroit Society for Genealogical Research Bulletin #4 November 13. 1937"


Anonymous said...

Nice to Bring out the History

Suzanne said...

Thank you for sharing this interesting poem. We sometimes take our ancestory for granted. I am from NY and have visited the Statue of Liberty. The verse on her starts with GIVE ME YOUR TIRED, YOUR POOR, YOUR HUDDLE MASSES YEARNING TO BE FREE! WOW!!!!!! THERE YOU CAN FIND YOU FAMILIES NAME IF THEY CAME TO US BY BOAT TO NY. SUSAN

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