“What My Father Believed” – Poem by John Guzlowski

“In our times, thousands of displaced peoples are swarming Europe’s borders, seeking refuge from our Global War on Terrorism and oppressive regimes in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Will America and Europe—the battleground of World War II—open our homes and hearts to today’s displaced persons? Who will speak for them?”

Who? Who will welcome them? The men, women and children who are fleeing the devastation that is their homeland thanks to ‘our Global War on Terrorism’?

Three Worlds One Vision

Syrian Refugees at Railway Station in Budapest - Hungary - September 2015

Syrian Refugees at Railway Station in Budapest – Hungary – September 2015
Photo Credit: Daily Mail UK / Reuters

My Poetry Corner September 2015 features the poem “What My Father Believed” by Polish-American poet John Guzlowski. Born in a refugee camp in Germany after World War II, he was three years old when he came with his parents and five-year-old sister to the United States in 1951 as Displaced Persons (DPs).

In his poem, “I Dream of My Father as He Was When He First Came Here Looking for Work,” Guzlowski writes:

I woke up at the Greyhound Station
in Chicago, and my father stands there,
strong and brave, the young man of my poems,
a man who can eat bark and take a blow
to the head and ask you if you have more.

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4 thoughts on ““What My Father Believed” – Poem by John Guzlowski

  1. A poem about refugees from my forthcoming book Echoes of Tattered Tongues

    Displaced Persons

    We came with heavy suitcases
    made from wooden boards by brothers
    we left behind, came from Buchenwald
    and Katowice and before that
    Lwow, our mother’s true home,

    came with our tongues
    in tatters, our teeth in our pockets,
    hugging only ourselves, our bodies
    stiff like frightened ostriches.

    We were the children in ragged wool
    who shuffled in line to eat or pray
    or beg anyone for charity.

    Remembering the air and the trees,
    the sky above the Polish fields,
    we dreamt only of the lives waiting
    for us in Chicago and St. Louis
    and Superior, Wisconsin

    like pennies
    in our mouths.


    • JzGuzlowski, that is absolutely beautiful; deep and heart-wrenching. I felt it and I am sure your book is going to be a bestseller. Just keep writing. Never stop because writers always have something that should be read/and/or heard!

      And thank you for stopping in. I consider it to be an honor!


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