The Census Taker
It was the first day of census,
and all through the land;
The pollster was ready . . . a black book in
He mounted his horse for a long dusty ride;
His book and some quills were tucked close by
A long winding ride down a road barely there;
Toward the smell of fresh bread wafting, up
through the air.
The woman was tired, with lines on her face;
And wisps of brown hair she tucked back into
She gave him some water . . . as they sat at the
And she answered his questions . . . the best
she was able.
He asked of her children. Yes, she had quite a
The oldest was twenty, the youngest not two.
She held up a toddler with cheeks round and red;
His sister, she whispered, was napping in bed.
She noted each person who lived there with
And she felt the faint stirrings of the wee one
He noted the sex, the color, the age . . .
The marks from the quill soon filled up the
At the number of children, she nodded her head;
And he saw her lips quiver for the three that
The places of birth she 'never forgot';
Was it Kansas? or Utah? or Oregon . . . or not?
They came from Scotland, of that she was clear;
But she wasn't quite sure just how long they'd
They spoke of employment, of schooling and such;
They could read some and write some . . .though
really not much.
When the questions were answered, his job there
So he mounted his horse and he rode toward the
We can almost imagine his voice loud and clear;
"May God bless you all for another ten years."
Now picture a time warp . . . it's now you and
As we search for the people on our family tree.
We squint at the census and scroll down so slow;
As we search for that entry from long, long ago.
Could they only imagine on that long ago day;
That the entries they made would effect us this
If they knew, would they wonder at the yearning
And the searching that makes them so
We can hear if we listen the words they impart;
Through their blood in our veins and their voice
in our heart.