Immigrants, Emigrants

Carma de Jong Anderson

Carma de Jong Anderson, "Immigrants, Emigrants," Religious Educator 11, no. 2 (2010): 159–161.  

Carma de Jong Anderson ( was a historic clothing designer and textile consultant when this was written.

Pioneer woman sitting on rockThousands of pioneers faced insurmountable odds as they came to America to make a better life for themselves. Dan Burr, painting from The White Ox, (Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press, 2009).

Pioneers crossing the plains in wagonsDan Burr, painting from The White Ox.

Musing on my Shaw ancestors from the Staffordshire Potteries in England, 1840s

How many west winds,

tossing wild,

drown the cries

of a pioneer child?

How many mothers

in birthing travail,

suffer on board

under listless sail?

How many pieces

of hardtack left,

how much water

before they’re bereft?

How many fathers,

pacing the deck,

plan and pray

for a merciful trek?

How many winsome

girls brave the foam,

crossing an ocean

for mountain home?

How many miles

of song and shout

does it take until

all the shoes wear out?

How many promises

heaped with stone

left against wayside

wolves alone?

How many moonlights

comforting boys,

curling for sleep

with rocks for toys?

How many couples

shaping the clay

with straw for adobes?

Determined to stay.