Old ships in mist

19mei13 003

Not many stories made it safely from the old days,
so much lies buried under the surface
of tired waves that can not reveal any secrets.

Whole families went down, not much to say;
we don’t know where they washed ashore, if so,
but names passed on from one ship to another.

Albertje was the name given to my mother,
her father’s mother’s name. Not many pictures
made it from those salt, moist quarters.

I have an album but no names. Faded faces stare
with fear and smirk at the photographer, in Copenhagen,
Antwerp, Riga. Saint Petersburg. Groningen. Albertje. Which is hers?

They tell me something with their eyes,
of life in storm at sea, of places far away,
though they were always home, like snails

or turtles. Some ships sailed on, though not with them,
their stories gone forever for the heirs. Sometimes in mist
a ship appears that no one knows. I am convinced it’s their’s.

fam_velvis_a_b__de_dankbaarheid_1927_

photo of my grandparents and their children on board of their ship, the little girl is my mother, at about the same age my granddaughter is now

I made the photo of the sailing boats 19 May, here (Terschelling)

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Comments on: "Old ships in mist" (10)

  1. This was so lovely and at the same time saddening to read. The ending made me want to shed a tear.

  2. Hi Ina,I really love this post!

    The photo you took, which I think is so calming, the photo of your grandparents’ ship too. And the poem brought back so many memories of the stories my father told us about his time at sea. So many lives lost in the vastness of the oceans.

    And my mum used to tell me over and over about how she would go to Antwerp to meet my father on his ship! I remember the names of two of his ships were Weirpool and Ullapool. I mentioned them in the poem about my father and the sea in my book.

    L&H xx

    • Hi Christine, thank you very much 🙂
      We also went to Antwerp often to meet my father, or to get on board for a trip with him. Maybe your father and mine once met in some harbour 🙂
      L&H xx

  3. Beautiful Ina,

    We try to understand the life they led but we can never really know

    Much love

    David

    • Hi David,

      some stories that were passed on are so incredible I can’t use them in a poem lol. But maybe in a novel. 🙂

      Much love

      xxx

  4. they would be proud to read this

  5. A possibility Ina! We will never know! 🙂 xx

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