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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: A Name is Born
By vincent lyons


Dad called us all together shortly after Grandpa died;
“We bear a famous name,” he said—“let us wear that name with pride”—
He unfolded a letter that was written long ago;
“The story in this letter is something all of you should know;

My great Grandad emigrated from the fairest isle on earth,
With a heavy heart of sadness borne of hardship, pain and death,
Carried memories of places most of us will never see;
He wrote them in this letter which my father gave to me.

I’ll only read a portion ‘cause it moves me so to tears;
Here, written in these pages are the wishes, hopes and fears
Of the ones who paved the roadway we all now travel on;
You can read it in more detail at your leisure later on”—

‘In Black Forty Seven there was famine in the land,
The blight had taken hold, there was death at every hand,
Fathers buried children—the very young were first to die—
I’m haunted by the silence of their mums--too weak to cry;

We trudged the reeking roadway—everywhere the deathly smell—
The fair land we had so loved had the foulness now of Hell;
By God’s mercy we survived, were delivered out of there;
More than two million perished, but we, thank God were spared.

Found passage on a sailing ship; saw Ireland fade from view—
Ahead were new horizons; aft was everything we knew;
Our treasures were the memories of hillsides fair and green,
Of family and friendships and the things that might have been.’

Dad’s eyes now misted over and a catch came in his voice—
“They would have loved to stay there but they didn’t have a choice,
But they made a new beginning in this land we call our own
And I salute their memory and our old ancestral home.”

He put the faded letter down and wiped away a tear—
“This meant so much to Grandpa and he wanted you to hear
Of the trials and the hardships through which family is formed,
So teach it to your children: -- This is how our name was born.”

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This article has been read 522 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Wright10/28/10
What a beautiful poem! The father was so very wise to give his family a sense of history and pride in who they were. So many lines were special and brought out many emotions. The line about Mums too weak to cry was heartbreaking. But I really loved the line about before were new horizons and aft was all they knew. But tragedy was overshadowed by gratitude for being spared. I loved this very well written poem. I hope the judges do to.
Mona Purvis10/28/10
History of families is something I love reading and learning about and seeing passed down. This poem is just full of the longing one might feel for a homeland far away. Loved it.

Beth LaBuff 10/28/10
What a rich heritage. We must remember! Your story haunts and uplights. Great work!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/31/10
This is beautiful and what a great example of handing down family history so each generation will truly understand.
Mariane Holbrook 10/31/10
Wouldn't it be wonderful if our parents, grandparents and even beyond, had left a letter of this kind for their families? What a glimpse into the past! So much of what my father told me so long ago has been forgotten, so today with so much technology available, everyone should be taping or writing something to pass on to generations to come. Talk about a gift! This was a wonderful entry!