The voice of an immigrant

Gabriela Sirbu, a Romanian immigrant who lovingly cared for my mother for many years, commented on an earlier post.  Actually, she did a lot more than comment.  She wrote a poem with an introduction. One thing many first-generation immigrants lack is a voice.  Gabriela’s voice comes through in both these pieces, which I am posting here.

Warning:  You may have to use your encyclopedias and dictionaries to understand the historical references.

Loved your post on cultural issues and got very inspired. Was thinking years back about who we, first or second generation of immigrants, actually are. We immerse in US culture and we bring our own values to it. Based on your post and the idea of who we immigrants are, and having at the same time an assignment in school regarding the same cultural issue, I wrote a poem I dedicated to my children and to my grandparents; on second thought, I dedicate this to all the children, parents and grandparents.  I invite you to read it.

 I Am From…
By Gabriela C. Sirbu
I’m from the Balkans and from the Carpatian Mountains,
And from where Danube meets the sea.
I am from human presence since the Neolithic there
Where homo-sapien grandma’ fought for me.
                                                                                                                                                               I am from Thracian tribes of Getaes and Dachs
Who fought the mighty Romans with tough guts,
I’m from the Burebista – year 40 before Christ
And from King Decebal whom Trajan dust.
                                                                                                                                                               I am from caves where food was caught with cuspids
And from the pioneers of flight,
With heart and brain to fly in eighteen-hundreds
Today at Boeing still ‘are known as bright.
                                                                                                                                                              I’m from Apollodorus’ Bridge across the Danube,
I am a fan of Tesla’s vision of setting weather to my wish,
Although not many understood his fiction,
But many’ve used in time a remote dish.
                                                                                                                                                               I am from where you light a candle when grandpa dies,
You cry, you eat.
I am from where you are polite with others
But no one steps on you for your defeat.
                                                                                                                                                               I am from where the pencil was invented
And Cybernetics, flutes, Enescu’s well known rhapsody,
In Paris, Queen Marie our courage represented
She reunited regions, and has her heart locked by the sea.

                                                                                                                                                                  I am from where the flags show colors of the skies, and blood, and grains                                      And from where Insulin was rooted.                                                                                               from where beauty of the soul is heard in plains,                                                                                And from when Nadia Comaneci’s ten (10) was trouble-shooted.

I am from Dracula and Transylvania’s famous castle.
And where bestsellers in the stores have poured,
Where he, Eliade, was the first to master
A history of all religions in the world.
                                                                                                                                                                I am from where Bill Gates finds talents
And from the graveyard where you laugh: quite strange.
And from where beauties Ferragano hires
To show his fashion on the stage.
                                                                                                                                                               I am from cabbage rolls, and wine, and Brandy
And from the firing circle dances of October feasts,
I am from “Oina”, the godfather of baseball
And from where Michael, Gabriel, immersed.
                                                                                                                                                               I am from clay, from grass, from strands…from matter
But mostly I am from truth, from culture, caring, and white dove,
And from the loving heart and wisdom of grandmother
I am from action, and tradition, I’m from LOVE !

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness.
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