Little yellow canaries

Norwegian Grandmother’s Song

Little yellow canaries sing to me,
sing to me.

Do you remember Stavanger
where the cold seas shook their sheets?

A rocking ship made me empty
my stomach into a pail over and again.

By water I came to this country,
by train I went to its prairie.

Oh, my husband, a beautiful Swede
who learned to lay bricks

for our living, was a tower
to my cottage. I clung to him

like a vine of pole beans to a stake.
Daughters we had, sons we had:

Ingrid and Kristin, Fredrik and Lars.
The Red River ran behind the house.

Giant cottonwood trees stood
at the banks like thirsty animals.

Little yellow canaries in your cage
sing to me in the warm kitchen.

“Norwegian Grandmother’s Song” by Margaret Hasse from Earth’s Appetite. © Nodin Press, 2013. Reprinted with permission.  (buy now)

Originally posted on Writer’s Almanac.

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