Writing THE GIRL IMMIGRANT when all through my files
I found documents stirring across thousands of miles
Various photos were tucked into SILVAN folders with care,
With fantastical hopes they’d multiply if I peeked there.
I dreamed of a time, far back in Spain’s day
when our forbears lived with guitar music and spade
their orchards were failing, their money grew dim.
And Hawaii soon called to reach out a limb.
So… many generations I am learning their names
their birthdates, marriages and the babies that came.
I readily walked through their streets to find signs
to show me rich histories maybe survived.
Our ancestors are all nestled snug in dirt beds
Visions of descendants never entering their heads.
But I try to imagine their Christmas long ago
With fiestas and celebrations both high and low.
A lacy mantilla covered our grandmother’s hair
and she’d just kneeled down for a long Christmas prayer.
When out on the plaza mayor, there arose such a clatter
she wanted to spring from her knees to see what was the matter?
Away to the window, someone’s child flew like a flash
Tearing up the aisle and tripping toward the sash.
She tried to sit quietly, prayer-like and timid,
As this matriarch was feeling blessed and aged.
The moon on the crest of the cobblestone street,
Gave the luster of mid-day to those trying to sneak…
When, what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But all of her grandchildren smiling ear to ear.
With their parents behind them, so quiet and quick,
She knew in a moment she just might be sick
With excitement and pleasure, their footsteps came,
And she smiled at each one, whispering their names.
Now, Agustin, Jacinto, Celestino and Felisa
Teodora, Juanitco, Alejandro and Manuela, ~
Bring in baby Jose and move into my pew
And dash in beside me, to kneel for a few….
And then, in a twinkling, she heard the priest say
Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas this day
Agustin, Juan, Victor, Geronimo and Crescencia
Smiling at these Fuentesauco Silvans in silencia…..
He glanced toward the Alvas, Martins, Hidalgos and more
Inhaled Christmas incense and watched its smoke soar
He thought his flock never looked so wondrous and fair
And felt Christmas peace arise all through the air.
These Spanish families would grow and multiply soon
Some might even try to fly up to the moon,
But Fuentesauco would shine like a beacon to draw
Descendants to meet these ancestors they foresaw.
I smile as I dream of how it was then, wondering slightly
how it really could have been; my people blending tightly
All part of my line with red or brown hair, blue eyes or dark
Their Spanish lives aching for food, aching to make a mark.
Our Spanish pride will never dim as long as we remember
How THE GIRL IMMIGRANT’s family was just a glimmer
Of a family before…descendants, young, old, tall and short
This story spanning across waters to their Hawaiian port
They left their homeland but kept Spanish traditions.
They played their music and sometimes eyes even glistened.
As they prayed. They cried. They lost children at sea.
But still persevering… as Americans, created thee and me.