NaPoWriMo2021 Day 14

The document given to my great grandfather at Ellis Island. Here his name was changed from Saverio to “Sam” by immigration officials.

The challenge for today was to write a poem that delves into the meaning of my first or last name.

I was born Carla Jeanne Picklo because my grandfather changed his name somewhere around 1920-1930. Piccolo was my original family name, and I’ve been seriously considering changing my name to reflect the original family name. It’s just a crazy idea bouncing around in my head right now, but reading all about my great grandfather’s life in my aunt’s genealogy journals has revived that desire.

Piccolo means small, and for those of you who know us, we are all small of stature, even those of us with “sturdier” builds.

Although our family surname means small, the legacy of my great grandfather is huge—within our family are generations of artists and writer, craftsmen and laborers, musicians and educators. The sphere of influence of the Piccolos spreads across the globe.

So here is my offering of gratitude for the man with a vision who started it all—Saverio “Sam” Piccolo.

Saverio “Sam” Piccolo

When you looked off the side
of the Belgravia beauty
of Hamburg Steamship Lines,
with your steamer trunk
full of dreams
and your steady gaze,
the strength in your bones
was belied by your stature.

When San Giovanni faded
into the distant past,
did you have a vision then
that one day you might
godfather a legacy—-a lineage
of artists and writers,
of craftsmen and laborers,
of musicians and educators?

How could you have known?
Yet somehow, when you dream big,
big things happen—-a perfect irony
for a man named “little”.

You were a pioneer,
a solitary pilgrim,
a prophet of the good life.
No matter what would come,
you knew the answer:
A man is only as tall as his dreams.


—a draft poem by Carla Jeanne (Piccolo) Picklo Jordan

Let me know what you think in the comments below. Share the love, write a poem, appreciate a good friend. Each moment is a new beginning.

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