Here, also, is the trope of bemused bewilderment shared by every immigrant who has not yet learnt to integrate with the brash, loud, rushing pell-mell American world he has stepped into and strives to make comprehensible and a home. There is the loneliness felt by all who leave their country and culture far behind. The emotional sting that is attached to vast distances separating faces loved and remembered. Smells and tastes savored. "What am I?" is a classic immigrant's lament.
The poetic perspective echoes life's progression from the optimism of youth to fears, doubts and physical travails as we travel through maturity to old age. Written over a lifetime, Nahra's poetry embraces the world in all its mysteries, contradictions, and enigmas. English is the poet's second language, learnt relatively late when he was already a young adult. The Levant informed his imagination. Cerulean skies, the Mediterranean Sea, the intimacy of a Lebanese Christian family, close-knit in a village life about as remote from the bustle of America as it is possible to be. It is because of his Lebanon birthplace that brings the sea so often into his work. The sea as redemption, as mystery, as wonder and vast grave.
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About the Author
Twelve years old when World War II ended Thomas, his younger brother Ralph, and their mother were able to join their father in America. The father took them to live in Cleveland, Ohio where he had bought a beverage store in a multi-racial neighborhood. A classic American melting pot of ethnic and cultural harmonics.
Fascinated by the English language, Thomas immersed himself in a broad mix of literature of all genres, a lifelong passion he never surrendered. A graduate of John Carroll University with a major in Social Science and Business Administration, he made a 25-year career as a vocational rehabilitation supervisor with the State of Ohio working with the disabled, training and helping them find employment.
He also launched an accounting practice, teaching new immigrants how to start a business and explaining the nation's tax laws. His reading continued unabated and for more than 40 year he wrote poetry, plays and short stories. Thomas Nahra has never published. Until now.