Nieland Family History     

Song of an Old Ramsdorfer
Lied eines alten Ramsdorfer

  Diese Gedicht ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar

This typewritten poem was found among the personal papers of Herman Nieland (1885 - 1958). It is believed to be a poem that he recited to his German relatives in 1956 when he returned to his home town, Ramsdorf, Germany with his older brother, Bernard Christopf Nieland (b. 1874) to visit relatives. The two brothers were two of the three sons of Gerhard Nieland (1840 - 1919) who emigrated from Germany to America.

1)  I was in a strange country for a long time, far from my dear homeland,
but I never could forget where I had always lived so happily.
Even when strange good fortune struck me, it drove me back again to Ramsdorf,
All my thoughts, all my longing went and still goes to the place where I once lived

2)  As I walk into my dear small town past the old turnpike,
To my left the water mill greets me, grey with its weathered wier,
The linden tree greets me on my right and the ivy covered church steeple smiles.
Both are my dear friends from my youth as a child of eight.

3) Reflecting as I go, I think to myself:
Alas, how distant is youth, so far away, so far!
But as I stand here at the house, I can hardly believe my eyes,
the place where I lived my innocenct years, where I dreamed my first dreams.

4) Nostalgia brings tears to my eyes, as I come up to my old home.
Oh, how everything changes as time goes by.
Father and dear Mother have slumbered a long time in the lap of the cool earth,
Brother, sister, all the dear ones sharie in part the same fate

5)  Some whose hearts stood close to mine went likewise to the grave,
Those who wished me well, as I went to the strange country.
That is how it should be. And even if each dear heart rests in the grave,
Each person who lives here, all, all of them are good.

6)  As I walk down the road, everything seems familiar,
There rises up the church that has watched the centuries go by,
Where I often prayed as a child, that place so worthy and so dear,
which remained in my memory all my life, always the same.

7)  I also see the old school as I never saw it as a child;
Images from long ago come back to me again.
Sacred place, where I once learned world wisdom and Christ's teachings,
That I always faithfully preserved for my well-being and to honor God

8) And when I go now through forest and fields along familiar paths
each way calls to me and leads me to happy moments.
Then I look at so many places where I went merrily to play,
Oh, how joy strikes in my heart when I sing of the homeland.

9) You may praise other towns, but only one feels right for me,
Because I praise and love Ramsdorf, only Ramsdorf draws me,
Only in native meadows good fortune smiles on me,
only in a bed of homeland earth will I have lasting peace.

Ramsdorf, August 1, 1906

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