Gerald W. Bertsch

Gerald W. Bertsch
5735 Wind Dancer Ct.
Sheboygan, WI 53081
920-287-7137 (home)

Gerald's family lived on the Standing Rock Reservation near McLaughlin, South Dakota, when he was born. The family moved from there to a homestead near Eureka, where he attended a one room country school for third through eighth grade. There he learned to love literature by listening to the teacher reading poetry and classic children’s stories aloud to the various age groups instead of doing his homework.

In high school he discovered the joys of scholarship and delved deeply into mathematics, science, English, and literature. College took him to Huron College in South Dakota where he majored in Psychology and minored in English. He was admitted to Union Theological Seminary in New York City to study theology and prepare for the Christian ministry. While there he followed a course of studies that emphasized Old Testament literature and Social Ethics.

Gerald has served five churches over the course of thirty-five years in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Oregon. During that time he wrote poetry and short stories for his own enjoyment. After he retired at the end of 2004, he began to write poetry in earnest, completing a poetic memoir that tells the story of his family’s life as German-Russian settlers in northern South Dakota. It was published by the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia in 2009. Two books of his peace poetry have been published by the Sheboygan Chapter of Veterans for Peace. Recently individual poems have been chosen for publication by VerseWisconsin and Stoneboat. 



There is only morning now
in the plowed field
outside my breakfast window.

Yesterday is gone
and tomorrow is unknown.
Now has dawned at last.

So I pause and let my eyes
feast upon the geese
in the stubbled field beyond.

There is a hint of green, a gray
beneath their cold-hardened feet,
an offering of winter wheat.

Here sentinels watch while others rest
or feed and couples take
each other’s measure.

Those arriving last let wings relax
as though it were July
to let January restore a will to fly.

Selected by SEEMS for their 46th edition

We’d Come From Chicago

We’d come from Chicago
to return an old saw to a friend
who’d sent it home with us
on our last visit for me to repair.

Craig met us near the bus stop
at Heathrow.

He said he’d take us home to his place
for tea because we must be tired
after our long journey.

He lived in a boat beached
in a field like a whale.

While we waited for tea
his tattooed and snaggle-toothed friends
began to arrive to see his American
friends with their saw. They’d checked
their snarly, public demeanor at the gate
like gun-slingers in a wild-west show.

Sweet English crumpets and Devonshire
cream were served on old bone china
tea plates that his grandmother had
given him on his 21st birthday.
She expected he’d take a wife
but he didn’t need one because
he already possessed her tea service.

Originally published by VerseWisconsin