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Poems by Jillian Ramsay Stern


The ship steams through the bay.
A chorus of frenzied babble,
enough to build the tower.
Ship's horns, a bass obligato.

Standing, oblivious to the cacaphony,
Her valise gripped with fear of loss.
She'd already lost home, family,
her native land.

She'd her history, her names.
Grand they were,
Ramsay and Graeme,
full of fame.

Namely names
With a history,
Like a well
that'll never run dry.

The steerage babble swells.
The obligato continues,
joined by the chorus ashore.
The ship approaches and confusion grows.

The promised land looms.
Promised, to whom?
Chains rattle, ropes whirr, anchors splash,
Then just harbor sounds.

The cacophony stills.
A moment of silent prayer.
She made it here.
Will she make it?

More rattles.
Gangway's down.
Moist hands grip fears, hopes and valises.
She moves to meet her future.

Jillian Ramsay Stern 09/02/2000
Dedicated to my grandmother Constance Graeme Ramsay