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.
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)