I wrote this poem as a way of processing my feelings over my Dad’s dad, my PawPaw, being diagnosed with lung cancer.
Long they lived along the Mosel river
Building barges for the family wine.
Beautiful museum pieces built to carry
Casks of the family’s finest vintage
Over the river’s gentle current in the
Land of my ancestors.
Seven generations lived amidst
The bayous off of Pascagoula Bay.
Many dinners were caught in those waters
And shot from those skies
In the breeze of the Gulf waters.
Waters I can still see through my father’s eyes.
My great-grandfather crafted wooden boats
Not unlike the vessels of our old homeland.
My grandfather built great naval vessels that
Have defended the freedoms of our new heritage.
My father hauled cables in the hot summers
On those same great ships that still hold their sweat.
In looks I am like the men of my family,
And in my heart I will always love the sea,
But my path has taken me away from the waters
Where so much of my heritage was born.
My life has been mostly lived on the shore,
With this great land firm beneath my feet.
Yet I have stood on the banks of Krebs Lake
And seen our house overlooking the waters.
I have hunted the grounds and fished the waters
Where my fathers grew from boys to men.
I hear the stories of my family and tell them.
I tell my children of water and blood that run deep.