The inspiration for this poem comes from one of my Mom’s ‘Memory Stories’ and took place during the late 1920’s to early 1930’s.
They came during the months of summer, arriving in a caravan
Of wooden wagons laden with canvas, furniture, and pots, and pans
That clanged the song of their arrival as they moved up the dirt road.
Horses of black, and brown and spotted grey pulled the wagons
While the new ponies of spring followed behind.
Papa always let them camp on our land and supplied food for their stay
In turn, they helped to work the farm and gave Papa ponies in trade;
And our neighbors would come from miles around to have their fortunes told.
Although not relations, Mama insisted we gave them proper honor,
And spoke with respect, calling them Uncle Barney, Aunt Mary and Uncle Jim.
In the evenings, while we sat in a circle around their campfires,
They sang songs from their home country, so many miles away
Accompanied by mandolins, guitars, fiddles, and tambourines.
And as the red and orange flames danced and crackled
They told stories of ghosts, and shift-changers, and apparitions.
When the second big war came, Papa sold the farm,
And I went away to another city for school.
From that time on, our summer visitors ceased to come,
And there were times I wondered where they’d gone.
But, to this day I can still see them in my mind’s eye coming along our road.
And I will always remember the songs they sang and the stories they told.