In Battle Ink

Margaret invited us to explore “Immigrant Portraits”. She said, “If you are blessed with a family member’s history of an immigration journey”, write about it. So… I poetized a glimpse into the immigration journey of someone really, really, really close to me.

“In Battle Ink”

Before I met her, I had dreams
that could be seen, tasted, touched
and made true by want and by work…

I dreamed of a home with a phone
and of books of my own;

not just any books, but the best
titles—stories birthed by free minds
that journey out of this world,
tales of lives written in battle ink
that rejects all irrational nos.

Then we met, through the strangeness
of May snow in New York City…

Her torch banished shadows I thought
eternal. She showed me books,
a home and a phone are not dreams,
but necessities. She taught me how to see
through the eyes of a book—the best,
the wisest, the most loyal friend
any thinking girl can have.

After I got to know her, I birthed ideas
that can’t be killed, stolen or bought…
thoughts that are bigger than any dream

ever was.

.
the wee notes…
– I migrated from the Dominican Republic to the United States a couple of decades ago. It was early May. My father had told my brother and me, “In May, the weather will be nice enough for shorts.” So, of course, we wore shorts. It snowed. The car broke down just minutes after we left La Guardia Airport. I was freezing, but grinning the grin of a delighted, bookish lunatic whose father had just told her, “You don’t need to spend the whole day in the library, if you don’t want to. Here, they let you take books home.” I will always remember the joy that warmed my heart that wintry spring day. The thought that so many children could be denied that gift, that joy, that warmth… breaks my heart.
– Linked to the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads (Artistic Interpretations ~ Immigrant Portraits). Will also link to Prompt Nights (Through the Eyes of My Friend) on Friday.

photo by the intelligent, talented, good-looking (and extremely modest), Rommy Driks

53 thoughts on “In Battle Ink

  1. I loved this! And that is such a beautiful, powerful image! It should be on the cover of a magazine. 🙂

    If one lives in America, or Australia, and one is not Native American, or an Aboriginal Australian… then one is either an immigrant, or the descendant of an immigrant. A simple truth that seems to be frequently forgotten.

  2. I agree with Little Gothic!.. Girl u stand as proud as the Lady of Liberty!..
    As I read your words I get the visual of that little girl in the library and learning that she has the freedom and rights as others to borrow books, to read , dream, do what her heart’s desire…You and millions of others who have come here.. I see my Grandfather in your words… He came here when he was of fighting age… His mama made him leave for fear that the Japanese army would force him to fight (tho he was from Seoul)… He was proud of the US and assimilated its culture and language.

    • I hope that one of these days, everyone who is here (who isn’t a Native American) can remember that they got here because of another… Once that gets into their brain, perhaps the meaning of it will reach their hearts too.

  3. I agree! The photographer must have a wonderful eye and refined artistic sensibilities. 😀

    But this is a terrific piece about hope through the immigrant’s journey and the joy of treasures, physical and intangible, discovered along the way.

  4. The day you stepped into New York was a gift to us all! I wish I could hug your dad for bringing you! This was a wonderful piece filled with the joy of discovery. Thank you so much for sharing. I was a farmer’s daughter living out in the country next to a town too small to have a library. I, too, remember the amazement when we moved to a bigger town with a library. It was my favorite place in the world and that special scent that you find in such hallowed a hallowed place is still my favorite.

  5. Whistles!!❤️💘 This is absolutely exquisitely penned, Magaly 😀 such fiery emotion accompanies your verse sigh especially adore; “Her torch banished shadows I thought eternal. She showed me books, a home and a phone are not dreams, but necessities. She taught me how to see through the eyes of a book—the best, the wisest, the most loyal friend any thinking girl can have.” Thank you so much for participating at Prompt Nights and for your constant love and support❤️💘

    Lots of love,
    Sanaa

  6. This whole bit is so vivid and makes me think of lifes simplicity’s people dont appreciate. I wish people would put down the electronics and have their heads in books. Thanks for sharing the journey.

    • I’ve never thought as electronics as something that goes against books. In my case, if there weren’t things as electronic and audio books I would not be able to read as much as I do–I can’t hold a book for a long time and my eyes aren’t the best. I think it’s all about balance. And about always taking a moment or three to be thankful for what life gives us.

  7. So… What Emma said, we are almost all bastards of bastards that have found a home amidst the indigenous, by design or expulsion… I thank them both, ansestors generations before me and the persecuted indigenous for sharing their land.

  8. What a beautiful and inspiring post this is Magaly. I too was migrant from Britain to Australia just for experience with my young family and my new country was filled with migrants from all over the world of all races and colours. I loved it mixing with everybody and fitting in easily. It was best thing my wife and I ever did.

  9. I love the thought of what books can do… and how little we value them when we have them in abundance… it takes starving to appreciate the bread.

  10. Magaly, you cut to the heart of things here–and that anything should take away this hope offered to ANY who need it from America’s core is frightening–but perhaps nothing really can, if we don’t let it, if we always live it, and work for the human happiness of all of us, no matter how some small fearful minds seek to limit it. Battle ink indeed! A wonderfully vivid and incisive poem.

  11. As far as my “research” has shown, the USA allows more immigrants per year into our country than any other… and of course we can’t let everyone in – Ellis Island was set up so that immigration would be monitored as it is still today. It is a very complex situation… and those who make it here are fortunate – and often are the most avid supporters of our laws and the opportunities offered. I hoped this prompt would bring forth personal stories and I’m glad you shared yours! Thank you.

  12. “Her torch banished shadows I thought / eternal”…the line speaks in a whisper first & then it’s louder…love your title, so true…

Leave a Comment