No small sip of water
this little berg in the
Poland countryside. A home
to my predecessors, Igolomia.

Blossoms placed their fragrant blooms
on public display near an array of quaint
cottage style abodes and farm houses
where the proprietors and their spouses

toiled in the fertile soil of Krakow.
Past that community where unity is a proud
by-product of their fabled heritage, I found
the remains of my ancestral home.JozefKura

A residence of modest size that housed
my Grandfather and his siblings raised
by the old cavalry officer, Marcin,
and his lovely bride, Joanna. What stands

of the old homestead is rooted into the
the ground partially buried but left to serve
as a retaining wall, corralling memories
of her storied prominence. The march through

Poland left the house a shambles and the stable in ruins.
By then, my Grandfather and the rest of the brood
had vacated, but not before leaving behind something
that would serve the test of time. A foundation solid and strong

lasting through the years. A testament to
my upbringing. Steeped in the traditions
of my heritage and beliefs; a foundation solid
and strong. A souvenir of my past remains,

a reminder of the history that has built this presentIMG_1047
and a hopeful future. A stone, the tangible part of the
life that courses through me. A piece of that wall;
my discovery in Poland in Spring of 1980. A foundation.


(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014


dVerse Poets Pub – Poetics: Your Family hiSTORY


35 thoughts on “POLAND, SPRING 1980

  1. oh i love that you have such a tangible reminder of that important part of your history….that is so cool…love me a solid and strong foundation…makes life so much easier

  2. nice…it is great to have that foundation in heritage and tradition that is passed on…pretty cool as well that you have that stone as a tangible memory of those times too…must have been pretty neat to go back there and find the place…

    1. Yeah Brian. It was like a re-birth to see where my mentor grew up and his circumstance. It was a very humbling experience. The memories don’t need the tangible reminder, but I’m glad for it just the same.

    1. I was amazed to see how the borders were so “fluid” for so long, Bjorn. Sections being a part of Germany, Austria, and surrounding countries over centuries. Foundation is key.

  3. I love that you were able to get a piece of that stone, the foundation of your family tree ~ It saddens me to see homes ravaged by time & war but good that your family has retained the heritage and beliefs ~ That’s important, so you can in turn share it with your family ~

    Really nice to know more of your family ~

  4. It is good to have the family history written in the heart and let you continue your family’s traditions and thereby keep alive the memories of your ancestors.

  5. What a heartfelt poem, Walt. Our foundations sometimes are not based on the physicality of a building but are what is passed through hearts and minds. How cool that you were able to travel to the place of your roots though, Walt.

  6. Glenn Buttkus

    In a lesser way, my brother & I, both of us retired now, spent a day chasing ghosts of our family history, seeking & finding three childhood residences, noting the changes, reliving the 50’s, the past. I think, in the end, we only have the family; the foundation of our lives; nice use of the prompt.

    1. Yes, Glenn. I’m still surrounded by five of my six siblings. Our family residence has left our hands. But I’ll admit, I left my key and took all the memories with me. Thanks.

  7. How wonderful to have a stone you brought back from your visit to your roots……..I just read a memoir about Poland during WWII – those were very hard times for the people there. It is a very cool stone. Wonderful story told in this poem!

    1. Thank you, Gabriella. The gentleman is my grandfather, Jozef. When he had finally emigrated to the US, he lived with us and I had the chance to spend a lot of time with him. Too young to ask the right questions, but still grateful for his influence and support,

  8. It is most intriguing to be able to salvage a priceless reminder. Something tangible in hand puts the telling of tales of one’s roots all the more fascinating. Great write Walt!


  9. I am 2nd generation American, of both Polish and Italian descent. My paternal grandparents came from Poland, early 1900’s and settled in a small town in VT to raise a family. Eleven children, nine that survived childhood. Unlike the Italian side, my Polish grandparents learned English well, ran a small grocery store for decades which their oldest son, my uncle also had for years. These grandparents had such strength to see them through all the adversity that they had to deal with in their lives. I for one, am so proud to come from such stock. Thank you for sharing this, a story I can relate to.

    1. Ginny, I am so happy you could relate and take something from Jozef’s story. He came here, worked in the steel mill, but was a cobbler by trade back in his native Poland. He had married a woman from a family of eleven and she had succumbed to tuberculosis in four years. With a young daughter to raise, he had married his wife’s sister (as they did in the day) and she (my grandmother) carried on the family. The hardships the survived in our cases were lessons that made all involved, very strong willed people!

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