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My Fathers, The Baltic Analysis

Author: poem of Philip Levine Type: poem Views: 9

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Along the strand stones,

busted shells, wood scraps,

bottle tops, dimpled

and stainless beer cans.

Something began here

a century ago,

a nameless disaster,

perhaps a voyage

to the lost continent

where I was born.

Now the cold winds

of March dimple

the gray, incoming

waves. I kneel

on the wet earth

looking for a sign,

maybe an old coin,

an amulet

against storms,

and find my face

blackened in a pool

of oil and water.

My grandfather crossed

this sea in '04

and never returned,

so I've come alone

to thank creation

as he would never

for bringing him home

to work, defeat,

and death, those three

blood brothers

faithful to the end.

Yusel Prishkulnick,

I bless your laughter

thrown in the wind's face,

your gall, your rages,

your abiding love

for women and money

and all that money

never bought,

for what the sea taught

you and you taught me:

that the waves go out

and nothing comes back.


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