Excerpt for Children of Immigrants Book 1 by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

Children of Immigrants

Book 1

By Chance Windworth

Copyright © 2017 by Chance Windworth

Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved by the author. Reproduction and redistribution are prohibited, with the exception of brief excerpts for the purpose of review.

The image on the cover is provided courtesy of Pixabay.

Table of Contents

Title Page

Dedication

Author's Foreword

Henry Logan

Settling a New Land

A Snippet of an Afternoon by the Ottawa River

About the Author


Dedication

I would like to dedicate this book of poems to my life partner and wife of thirty-two years, Robyn, without whom I would not be possible, let alone complete in my happiness.


Author's Foreword

Growing up in a working class neighbourhood of Ottawa, I had the great fortune of knowing many fine and distinguished people. In our little space, there were families who were not only anglophone and francophone, but Poles, Italians, Greeks, African-Canadians, and Yugoslavians, to the best of my recollection. Of course, in school, I met many other children of immigrant families, and I gravitated to these kids for the simple reason that I liked to identify with their feelings of being quasi-outsiders. My own parents were the children of immigrants from Ireland and Scotland, and they certainly had no problem seeing me spend my time with these children of immigrants, and even encouraged it. In time, I came upon the shadowy world of stereotypes and prejudice; trying on the cloak of hostility, I found it left a sour taste in my mouth, one that I can't forget. I have witnessed some of my young cohort fall into the abyss of lifelong bigotry, and as people that I have known and loved, I can only feel sorry for those who have retracted in fear from a cosmopolitan world, and squandered so much opportunity to know and love others.

These first three poems in the Children of Immigrants series stand as a test of my communication abilities. By all means, return to your retailer and leave a review – you can be sure I'll read it! I hope you enjoy these offerings.

Henry Logan

Snow angels beneath a knobby pine tree.

Henry and Marc play like the squirrels,

Or the adults would, were their lives less hard.

Dad drinks, mom gets mad – my mom left my dad.

Maybe next we'll move to Cleveland – we're staying put.

They call us whops - Henry doesn't say what they call him.

Snowballs at the red brick walls beneath windowsills.

They talk like their parents would,

Had their lives been less hard.

Henry, do you get along with the Italian boys?

Spaghetti sauce dripping from noodles to plate.

Yeah, yes – we have fun; the Canadian boys are mostly mean to me.

Would you like us to move to Little Italy?

Shops and restaurants and little yellow houses.

Why don't they have Little Africa?

Someday you and I will go to the real Africa,

See all the places and people there.

Savannah, sandstone cliffs, nice people in villages.

Henry!

Feeding the puppy under the table,

Slurping on delicious noodles.

We'll watch the show now, soon, Henry.

Henry and Mom and Skittle curl up on the couch.

Don't you ever act like the people on television.

People would think you're crazy.

Don't look down when people speak to you.

They would think you're bad.

We have a nice home, don't we, Mom?

Little Italy would be better for us,

And it's near Chinatown!

And downtown!

Plus, a place to walk the puppy.

Tucking in is the best part of bedtime.

Skittles likes his plush blanket and fleece bed.

Mom tells the story again, of the ancestors.

One of those things Henry mustn't ever talk about with others.

Dignified they were, obstinately human,

In the face of arrogance and cruelty.

Church is on Sundays for most people,

But Henry and Mom go on Wednesday evenings.

A little tradition of theirs, having almost the whole place to themselves,

And the undivided attention of God.

Suppose God and Jesus stopped caring about us long ago, Mom?

They wouldn't ever stop, because Jesus was a man,

And he remembers how hard it is to be human.

Skittles looks out from his plush nest,

Watching safely as Mom kisses Henry's brow.

The night is complete, save for the dreaming.

Settling a New Land

They were the children of invaders,

Finding nobody to challenge them.

Great beasts, some as big as a home,

Tantalized these newcomers.

Their parents and grandparents had left

All the warring, jawing, and hunger of the old place,

And took to boats across tempestuous seas.

The legends were true – here was a paradise.

Uncrowded, untamed, unclaimed.

And so it was the land of their descendants for ages -

Until the world spun round and brought more newcomers.

Bit by bit, the lands were ceded, and the original people

Were gone.

Their descendants have but a memory,

Traces here and there in their lives,

Of what it was to be free in their lands,

Before the blue skies overhead were stolen from them.

A crowded world, of vast cleverness and scant wisdom,

Knows justice to be but a dream,

One of those illusions that children and hearts speak of,

Yet cannot be afforded when we have become

Enemies to our own survival.

Newcomers are believed to always be dangerous,

In the hard bullet reality of a crowded world.

Mingling and sharing among equals,

Is the original way of our human spirit,

As it was long, long ago.

A Snippet of an Afternoon by the Ottawa River

The dog darts ahead, dipping front paws into the summery water.

It is alive, full of invisible creatures, doing who-knows-what,

While nobody is watching.

The three boys walk, and talk, throw stones,

Race the dog, recline on the old pile of mooring rocks,

Swearing and laughing, telling bad jokes their fathers made,

But their mothers don't like;

Counting out the change for ice cream twister cones

At Maria's Corner on the way home.

(Of adulthood, their worlds are filled with silence -

And who is not watched – the children, or the adults?

The young were usually kept innocent so that they might also believe

The adults to be good and hearty, and kind in all their ways.)

There's hardly another human around,

As they taunt and tease one another,

Preparing themselves, unknowingly,

For what lies ahead in their lives.

They speak of Robert now and then -

On this day, Mario confides to the other two,

That he thinks Robert is sick and twisted.

Robert, mean Robert, with his poster of bigger fish

Eating all the smaller fish.

Robert who they call Richie Rich,

Because that's already what he wants to be.

Implications they don't yet want to know,

As they rattle change in their pockets now,

Climbing up the river's banks, dog trailing and wagging,

And begin to go home under the warm blanketing haze.

The chocolate and vanilla ice cream twisters disappear into

Thirst-ravaged mouths, the dog gets her share,

And they're on their way home.

Home is the safe place – a building with protecting walls;

Home is away from the mean people, who build castles in the sky.

About the Author

Chance Windworth is an urban writer who has spent decades studying the English language in hopes of becoming a capable poet. Starting his life in Ottawa, doing some travelling, meeting some fine and interesting people along the way, Chance applies nearly a lifetime of experience to simple, yet profound questions in his work.

His favourite poet is Dylan Thomas, and he was bemused but elated to hear that Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. In the Dylan's (Bob and Thomas,) he hears a call to know our world better by knowing ourselves better, in both achievement and potential.

Sadly, Chance finds that we live in times in which people eschew talk of human potential, and instead follow encouragement to place their faith in institutions. Given the opportunity to make a modest mark on the world of poetry, he hopes to remind readers that humanity had great beginnings, and can achieve lasting greatness, if only we believe first that individuals, cherished and nurtured, can work together in the common cause of survival and thriving.

Enjoying his retirement back in Ottawa, not far from his childhood stomping grounds, Chance hopes to see the world get through the current struggles, and begin to turn the corner to lasting peace and cooperation. “It all begins with unleashing our capacity to love,” he says, “and keeping our eyes on the horizon even in stormy weather.” He has seen his own life come full circle in marvellous ways, and believes that all the people in the world can someday share in the reappearance of paradise on earth. “Doubting is healthy, but surrendering to one's doubts about our shared future is giving in to the illusions of the times. Think outside the box, as they say, and you can begin to see good answers to our dilemmas of finite space, finite resources, and a fragile biosphere. Start at home, and move out from there.”

Readers will see more of Chance's poetry in the future – but first, he has some tea and crumpets to devour.

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