March 16 -> “Immigrant”

Wednesday March 16 – “her real name was  – – – – >  Silvia:  S-i-l-v-i-a”

Many poems are brief, offering layers of experience waiting to be noticed on 2nd or 3rd reading.  I found this poem during my first look at a book, new to me and sent by a Boston friend.  From some clues in the surrounding pages, I conclude that Silvia was the poet’s Irish immigrant mother (1938-2003).   She inhabits this poem  as a tender enduring presence and as one who lost her name in her early immigrant experience and only told while she died.

It’s short; best read out loud, with pauses.

Have a blest day.


john sj

Today’s post


In those last hours
she told us
her real name was
Silvia:   S-i-l-v-i-a

Her father
changed it to
Sylvia:  S-y-l-v-i-a

for the teachers
when she
went to school.

Sacred Spaces, Sacred Places Story
Poems by John N. McPhee.

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One Response to March 16 -> “Immigrant”

  1. Pingback: St. P’s Day — remembering an immigrant from long ago | Poetry Blog: "A Work Day in Hard Times"

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