Philip Levine

(January 10, 1928 / Detroit, Michigan)

My Fathers, The Baltic - Poem by Philip Levine

Along the strand stones,
busted shells, wood scraps,
bottle tops, dimpled
and stainless beer cans.
Something began here
a century ago,
a nameless disaster,
perhaps a voyage
to the lost continent
where I was born.
Now the cold winds
of March dimple
the gray, incoming
waves. I kneel
on the wet earth
looking for a sign,
maybe an old coin,
an amulet
against storms,
and find my face
blackened in a pool
of oil and water.
My grandfather crossed
this sea in '04
and never returned,
so I've come alone
to thank creation
as he would never
for bringing him home
to work, defeat,
and death, those three
blood brothers
faithful to the end.
Yusel Prishkulnick,
I bless your laughter
thrown in the wind's face,
your gall, your rages,
your abiding love
for women and money
and all that money
never bought,
for what the sea taught
you and you taught me:
that the waves go out
and nothing comes back.

Comments about My Fathers, The Baltic by Philip Levine

  • Gold Star - 14,202 Points Susan Williams (10/21/2015 3:48:00 PM)

    I am officially a super-fan of Philip Levine's poetry. H cannot put his pen to paper without writing a real world (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Rookie Alfred Pryszkulnik (3/28/2007 11:16:00 AM)

    YOSSEL PRYSZKULNIK was my grand uncle
    and also
    PHILIP LEVINE is my cousin
    and write after a long trip in Spain (Momtjuich) for my father DAVID BER PRYSZKULNIK...
    'The Survivor'
    with the french carrugated 'CITROEN' car to go from our home in NIMES to ARLES



Read all 2 comments »

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: money, laughter, women, sea, work, water, lost, home, wind, alone, death, brother, thanks, woman

Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

[Hata Bildir]