A post for Poetry Thursday:
A while back, immersed in genealogy, I found myself wanting to write about the interesting stories that some of my relations seemed to have. Since I didn't really know enough about them, I sprinkled the meagre facts with a seasoning of imagination and wrote a series of brief poems. Since I'm immersed in genealogy again as I prepare for my big trip, it seemed a good time to share some of them.
Of those below: David is my greatgrandfather's brother (on my father's side), a watchmaker who emigrated from Scotland to the United States and arrived in Wyoming on the first ever train to reach that far across the continent.
Alick/Amos is my greatgrandfather, (on my mother's side, alternating between male and female lines) who was a bit of a mystery until I managed to work out that he was a bigamist who had changed his name. I believe he probably married his first wife because she was pregnant, and when the baby died he left her, joined the militia and went to Scotland, where he married again under a different name.
Ann was my greatgreatgrandmother's sister (aunt of David above). Census records revealed that both she and her shoemaker husband were deaf and dumb. Sadly, their four daughters seemed to have been similarly handicapped, and all died young in the poorhouse. But for a while, things went well. I came across the account of a deaf and dumb marriage ceremony in a genealogy magazine, and I put the two stories together.
He arrives in Cheyenne with the railroad
There in a room behind the shop
he mends watches,
against the heat and the dust.
They tick the years.
The railroad moves on, the trains
rumble westward. For a second
he lifts his head, then bends to his work,
sets all the watches to high noon.
He is running away again, but
this time his wife comes too
Five children journey with them.
He opens his cabin trunk,
packs spare shirts, a Bible,
his carpenter’s tools-
hammer, plane, chisels, auger-
and just in case, several extra names
all matching the initials
on his handkerchiefs
John and Ann
Stirling, Scotland 1842
They make their vows like this:
hands on heart, hands on the others heart,
hands raised towards God.
He mimes a grave, signifying
“till death us do part”.
Now wed, they make a home.
She stirs porridge, scrubs floors,
gives him daughters.
He crafts shoes, which speak for him,
eloquently, with many tongues.
Today's photo celebrates my garden which is beginning to bloom again. Spring is on its way!