Document 259

The Immigrant

Author(s): Anna Blair

Copyright holder(s): Anna Blair


There were ghettos and pogroms in East Europe then
And few Jew-folk like us could ignore
The objections rejections and utter despair
And the fear of the Knock on the Door.

But the Jewish are born with the will to survive
And the young turned their hopes on the West
A last look at our 'heyzar' we hoisted our bags
Bowed our heads to the old to be blessed.

Sick and cramped on the boat I still struggled to dream
Of the States, Eldorado-New York
But the place we arrived was a base on the Clyde
And we scrambled ashore on the dock.

I looked at the black maws of alley and close
The warrens of tenements grey,
But I jibbed at the dread of the ocean ahead
And decided forlornly to stay.

I lodged near the quay in this new Promised Land,
Schipka Pass at the edge of the Green
Moved in-there with some Yiddish-spoke immigrant Jews
Wi' Pa's watch and my new gaberdine.

That night I saw fire like a funeral pyre
And I minded some old homeland phrases,
Such like 'burning your boats' 'setting fire to wild oats'.
Lord God's promise that night...Dixons' Blazes.

My strangeness was shed as the weeks turned to months
And my thoughts grew less vivid of Poland
As the Mommas about, gave me wurst and sauerkraut,
And my regular Shabbos-Day cholent.

A tobacco place first, then I set myself up
In a basement in Hospital Street
And I toiled and I moiled all the hours that God sent
Checking invoice and stock and receipt.

My wee soft-goods company prospered and grew
And I wed with the young Rachel Ascheri.
My Rachel had style and a wonderful smile
And a flair for wholesale haberdashery.

From being poor and alone in that Gorbals back-street,
Now I'm fourscore and head of a clan,
For Rachel with flair for more than software
Bore three girls, then Josh, Nathan and Dan.

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

The Immigrant. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 19 April 2024, from

MLA Style:

"The Immigrant." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 19 April 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "The Immigrant," accessed 19 April 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 259

The Immigrant


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1

Text details

Method of composition Handwritten
Year of composition 1998
Word count 335

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 127
Forenames Anna
Surname Blair
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1920
Educational attainment College
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Teacher/author
Place of birth Giffnock
Region of birth Glasgow
Birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Business
Father's place of birth Glasgow
Father's region of birth Glasgow
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Business
Mother's place of birth Glasgow
Mother's region of birth Glasgow
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes
French Yes Yes Yes Yes Visits to France, correspondence
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes