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Departure
(04 October 1943 / Germany)

Departure

Poem By Herbert Nehrlich

I see you standing,
there at the Qantas jet.
Next day it will be landing
as if we'd never met.

A cold November gust
expands your summer coat.
And yes, Mother, I must,
I could not go by boat.

You're worried about flying,
remembering the war,
the many mothers crying,
the word from distant shore.

And yet, you're smiling now,
a smile without the tears,
the stoic German Frau
is not what she appears.

So many people board,
your eyes assume command,
a noisy, silly horde
off to a promised land.

The wind combines with ice,
My gesture 'go inside',
a parting son's advice,
a mother's love and pride.

I see your hair, dark brown,
your summer coat, so gray.
Upon your face a frown...
but Mother, I can't stay!

II

The engines revv, a thud is felt
my breath forms cabin dew
upon the window crystals melt,
they've gone, except for you.

I felt your arms, the boyant lift,
the pilot must have known,
and soon above the clouds adrift
was I, who'd never flown.

I swear I saw you from up high,
still standing there so tall.
I knew that you would never cry
until you took my call.

Remember what you said back then?
I rang you from a box,
you said be sure to write me when
I need to mend your socks.

III

When thirteen years had puffed away
you'd changed, and even cried.
'Twas me who knew not what to say,
I showed you my new bride.

You stood there, with your summer coat,
your hair, now pewter gray
and told us all about the boat
that sank in Hamburg Bay.

A wind picked up, as cold as ice,
five children grabbed their Oma.
Inside they went, those little guys,
I smelled Tshibo aroma.

You could, for twenty lousy cents
drink coffee, rich with cream.
At last, inside the trusty Benz
the sequel to a dream.

User Rating: 4,8 / 5 ( 2 votes ) 4

Comments (4)

Herbert...this was so very touching. It reminds me of my mother in alot of ways. I really felt so much emotion in this one. Nicely written!
This sounds very like my Mother Herbert. Mothers are always Mothers, however old you are! You never grow up in their eyes! Sincerely Ernestine.
I loved this right up to the last two or three stanzas. I would have kept it about you and your mother and not brought in the other...you had done such a great job painting the picture about leavetaking and later the reunion with a new bride. I had to wonder about your mother's reaction to a new bride. Thanks for sharing. Raynette
This is wonderful Herbert. I feel like you've shared such an intimate moment of your life with us, thank you. Sincerely, Mary


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