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From Boots: A Family-tree Poem

February 26, 2020


From Boots:


A Family-tree Poem


By Alice Jane-Marie Massa



I am from boots.

I am from the Levone Valley–

The top of the boot of Italy.

I am from the boots in which my grandmother danced

Aboard the ship La Touraine

Which departed from Le Havre, France,

To take her over the waves and through Ellis Island

To a farm in Indiana.

I am from my grandfather’s boots

that were covered with coal dust

From a Vermillion County mine,

His boots that were covered with dirt

From the Klondyke farm,

His stained boots that pressed the grapes

He turned into red wine.

I am from the Army boots that his second son–

My father–Wore in the 638th Tank Destroyer Battalion

At the Battle of the Bulge.

I am from the boots

My dad wore as a firefighter,

As chief fire and safety inspector.

I am from the boots the Italian cobbler–

Joe Bello–repaired at his little shop in Clinton.

I am from the boots my mother wore

Through a snowstorm, as she trudged home

Through the impassable road, alongside the windswept field–

After putting up the mail at her post office

And then after leaving her car by Gisolo’s Grocery Store.

I am from the boots that my sister and I wore

To visit the real Santa in Santa Claus, Indiana.

I am from the Hoosier boots

That have walked through Wisconsin drifts of snow and icy sidewalks

Beside Keller, Heather, Zoe, and Willow–

Four Leader Dogs for precisely thirty years.

I should shine these boots

And keep them in my memory-heart.


* * *


With warm February blessings for you and all on your family tree,

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


February 26, 2020, Wednesday




From → Uncategorized

  1. Hi Alice,
    What a clever way to connect your family members to each other and to your roots. I love all of the images that this poem evokes. I especially like thinking about your grandmother dancing on the ship to America. Wouldn’t that have been fun to see.

    I hope that you and Willow won’t need boots much longer this year but I’m sure Willow looks very chic when boots are needed.
    Love, Fran

    • Hi, Fran–Many thanks for your lovely comment!  Always so very nice to hear from you!  Now, I have to use a loaf of Italian bread to connect the other side of the family!

      Take care–Alice and Willow

  2. joanmyles permalink

    Alice, you are the shine upon all the boots your relations wore, blessings to youk sweet friend! *yellow butterflies*

    • Hello, Joan–What a kind and beautiful comment!  Special thanks!

      Talk with you soon–Alice and Willow

  3. Susan Mckendry permalink

    Such a nice post, and how appropriate since we still need our boots. It’s always nice to read about your immigrant relatives especially in the form of a well-crafted poem

    • Sue–Thank you for your especially nice comment on this “Boots” poem.  Although the temperatures and wind chill have been chilly, I am sure Willow is very happy to have clear sidewalks so that she does not have to wear her blue boots.

      Take care, and call soon–Alice and Willow

  4. What a great poem, Alice! I really enjoyed the descriptions of our loved ones In their boots—treasured memories of special family members for sure!
    Love to you and Willow,

    • Mary–Thanks for adding your comment to this post!  A writer friend e-mailed me about the song “These Boots Are Made for Walking,” which reminded me of the time that my second Leader Dog Heather and I went with you to Festa Italiana and heard Nancy Sinatra sing “These Boots Are Made for Walking” on one of the Festa stages.

      Talk with you soon–Alice and Willow

  5. Gina Amerman permalink

    Alice, What a lovely creative way to tell your family story! I always like reading about your family’s history, You tell such a sweet, descriptive readable memory! Love and warm winter wishes to you and Willow. Take care! love, Gina

    • Hi, Gina–How wonderful to hear from you as a result of these boots!  While the idea for this poem came so quickly, my heart will be long warmed by all of the comments which I have received via this comment section and personal e-mails.  I am so glad to know that you liked this particular poem.

      Take good care, and Happy March!

      Alice and Willow

  6. Katherine Binole permalink

    Alice, I so enjoyed your creative and clever poem weaving boots on my mother dancing on the boat to everyone in the family to your present day boot walking in Wisconsin snow. Love Aunt Kathy

    • Good evening, Aunt Kathy–How special to have your Minnesota “boot-stamp-of-approval” on this family-tree poem!  I do treasure your comment on this particular piece.

      Stay warm and well!  Talk with you soon!

      Love, Alice and Willow

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