A Calabrian Wife's Lament
by Unknown Author
We seldom speak of the many women left behind in Calabria when their young husbands emigrated. Here is a poem that was sung by the women in those days
Merica chi te via arsa re fuoco
cuomu re fuoco, fa vrusciare a mmie
allo mio bene, ti lu tieni luocu
e llu fa stare lontanu re mie
Rille si sinne vena osi sta lluocu
o veremente s'e scordatu e mie
rille ca s'addimmura n'atro pocu
l'ossa ce puo truvare e nno ra mmie!
Si l'unna re lu mare porta china'
su lle larime mie jumi currire
America may you be inflamed
as with fire that burns within me
you keep my beloved there
you keep him far from me
ask him, will he return or stay?
or has he truly forgotten me?
tell him if he prolongs much longer
he will find only my bones and not me!
if the tides of the sea run full
it is the river of my tears that fills them
We seldom speak of the many women left behind in Calabria when their young husbands emigrated. Many of them with children and left with the chores of keeping up the small groves and properties and caring for old relatives. My mother waited 8 years to join my father and from her stories the suffering was immense.
Very often the emigré had little to send back and the women worked night and day to support their children and parents. Here is a poem that was sung by the women in my mothers' day...)
Submitted by Dr. Tom Lucente (#200)