The German ship S/S Prinzess Irene, which carried my grandfather and eldest son Gaetano to America in 1906. My grandmother followed several months later with their other two children, Margaret and Vito. 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 Napoli.
His eldest boy just nine, kissed his mom farewell
and holding poppa’s burly hand,
waved goodbye to Italy.
“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.