Prinzess Irene


The German ship S/S Prinzess Irene, which carried my grandfather and uncle to America in 1906.  They never saw Italy again.   The ship was seized by the U.S. Navy during WWI, renamed Pocahontas and turned into a troop transport.


The Tempest tossed she bore
the tired and the poor
before she carried soldiers
facing death on a distant shore.

Once she carried hopes and dreams
as he bid farewell to King and country;
no bands were playing on the day
  he sailed away from Italy.

His eldest boy just nine, kissed his mom farewell
and holding poppa’s burly hand, 
waved goodbye to Napoli.
“Momma will come in May, you’ll see!”

and as they sailed that fateful day
the clanging of a buoy bell
mist and terns off the starboard bow
which they’re passing now as they make way
toward the lamp beside the golden door.



About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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4 Responses to Prinzess Irene

  1. beetleypete says:

    Another poignant memoir, Frank. I can smell that salty air!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jfwknifton says:

    That must have been a very, very poignant, and difficult, parting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • toritto says:

      Hi JF – My grandparents already had three children when they came to America. My grandfather traveled ahead with his oldest boy – perhaps to find work or a place to live. He departed in January 1906. My grandmother followed in May with the other two children. They had five more children in New York – my father was the youngest, born in 1917. I knew them all, save the boy on the boat. Then I found his daughter (my new cousin) in Texas.



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