The author, Norbert Krapf, is a descendant of German immigrants. His writings
reflect the experiences his ancestors must have had on arriving in the new world.


He stumbles off the ship America,
parts from the people who
speak the only tongue he's
ever known, and leads a wife
and six children toward the middle
of a dark continent. Eight
pairs of shoes shaped by
the contours of cobbled
Bavarian streets must soon
begin to fall evenly upon
uncultivated ground. Like
a startled rabbit, the woman
cocks her ears for the pealing
of distant churchbells.
the children cling to the man's
overcoat like cockleburrs.
A sailor whose eyes blink
back to the vineyards patching
the banks of the Main River,
he knows he must learn to
navigate this foreign land
by foot. He stares at
the bark of trees he's never
seen, flinches at the songs
of birds he's never heard.
He worries about laying seed
in the soil in the spring.
He sucks in his breath,
puts down one foot at a time.
Copyright © 1993 by Time Being Books, St. Louis (1-800-331-6605)
Somewhere in Southern Indiana: Poems of Midwestern Origin

Return to Lesson 5
Learning About Our World: Germany
Ohio Department of Education
Last Updated: 13 September 1999, ARK