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Down By The Stage
Down by the Stage Down by the stage in the landwash, where the salt water laps at the shore; Young boys catch tomcods and sculpins, their playground: the ocean at their door. Down by the stage in the landwash, where there's a lun spot from the wind; Old men stand around there and tell yarns, as one ends, then another begins. Down by the stage in the landwash, there are memories of yesterday's way; In the boards and the tubs and the longers; and the boats they used out on the bay. Down by the stage in the landwash, where many a trap-skiff has come in; The stage-head now weathered and leaning, is the essence of what we have been. Wayne Taylor, Bonavista
By Ron Young Way in over the barrens Where the partridgeberries grow I quat down with my berry can Longside a fruitful row My mother's words came back to me When I had left that morning Of how to cope with little folk Were followed by this warning "Wear your sweater inside out While you're out picking berries 'Cause there've been other solo folk Whisked away by fairies" But my thoughts were elsewhere As I grubbed my way along Picking berries by the handful And whistling a song When I got me bucket full 'Twas warm there on the hill So I took me sweater off And sat down for a spell 'Twas then I heard the voices And saw the little creatures They had paws and claws and chomping jaws And un-angelic features I grabbed me Guernsey and I ran Like a general in rout And hauled that sweater o'er me head With the inside facing out They were near upon me As I pulled me sweater on But soon as it was round me back The devils were all gone I was left alone upon the hill Mother's counsel saved the day The little trick had turned them back And sent them on their way So if some day you feel inclined To go solo, picking berries Wear your sweater inside out Lest you're set upon by fairies
Old Uncle Abraham lived to ninety four
and was carried on the hill one winter's day
When blew a norâwest gale of fifty mile
and snow and spray came drifting off the bay
He had no other relatives around
his younger brother left long years ago
And made his way up to the Boston States
and never did return home to the cove
The local congregation all came by
as he was laid to rest while raged the storm
And mindful of the snow and of the cold
they hurried quickly back to kitchens warm
The winter that he died was fifty-three
no message, nor no visitor came by
As years moved quickly on, just memories
of Uncle Abraham remained sometimes
The old homestead just underneath the hill
was unattended and fell to decay
And no one paid attention to the spot
until a stranger came on summer's day
He seemed to have some knowledge of the cove
that couldn't have come from the internet
It was a mystery why he had come
to look around the cove a little bit
He never made an effort to converse
nor did he knock at all upon a door
Just walked around the harbour and the cove
as if he had been here some time before
He seemed to pay attention to the place
where Uncle Abraham Mouland used to be
Although the remnants of the old homestead
were long overgrown by full-sized aspen trees
And likewise he poked through the spruce and fir
that all but covered ancient marble stones
Then nearing twilight got into his car
and in a little while he was gone
Wayne Taylor (Bonavista)
Old Lace (Wayne Taylor, Bonavista)
Inside an ancient window frame
hung with old lace from years gone by
And flapping in the winter's wind
there in an empty, darkened eye
The snowflakes fell in thickening form
the harbingers of winter's storm
Across the cove the derelict
old houses with their window frames
looked back across the grey wind lop
and from both sides each saw the same
a gauzy view through ancient lace
that women left there in this place
A time when quiet lives were lived
without too many fears or cares
a time when silence didn't reign
supreme and there were people here
to make the cove into a place
with human voice and human face
Sequel (Wayne Taylor, Bonavista)
Old Uncle Abraham died in fifty-three
he lived alone, and he was ninety-four
In on the hill amid the spruce and fir
he was laid to his rest along this shore
The local congregation all came by
no visitor or message from away
For Uncle Abraham had no other one
his younger brother moved away and stayed
His younger brother left long years ago
and to the Boston states he made his way
He never made a contact once he left
No visits or no letters were conveyed
Though memories of old Abraham remained
there in the cove, the old home-place decayed
There was no one to claim, no one to care
and years and decades drifted down the way
With time the old homestead was overgrown
within a grove of full-size aspen trees
And in the centre place there was the sign
of where the house foundations used to be
The old house had long years ago fell in
and rotted boards still littered on the ground
The foundation stones that once defined the house
still stood although some were all scattered 'round
The visitor came in a rented car
into the cove one sunny, summer's day
It was apparent to those who observed
he was a one who came here from away
It sure seemed like he knew his way around
though just a summer traveller to the cove
He looked at the foundations of the house
that still could be seen in the aspen grove
For in the clearing one could clearly see
the rotted remnants of a house and store
A rock foundation made with square edged stones
where uncle Abraham lived those years before
But someone from away would not have known
that such a place one time existed there
And if they never asked about such things
how could one even know and be aware
His brother when he reached to twenty years
left for the Boston states in eighty-five
To seek a better life from in the cove
where fishing gave enough just to survive
There he found work and in the course of time
he prospered and forgot about the cove
He married and raised his family
far from the cove and from the salty sea
Though in his older years he often thought
about the cove, and all the time long gone
He told them all about from whence he came
before the time when he came up-along
His sons in turn told their sons of the place
where Josiah had come from those years ago
Josiah's grandson now in aging years
thought that this place was somewhere he should go
He took a flight to Newfoundland and then
he drove for seven hours to the bay
And sought the cove from where Josiah came
and where his father had refused to stay
He found where his grandfather had spent life
and Uncle Abraham though both were unknown
He visited in on the hill where trees
had most of the white marble overgrown
As twilight came and evening shadows fell
he got into the car and drove away
Content that he had seen what he had seen
and knew there was no point for him to stay
But now he knew from where life had been given
and seen the spot of ground from whence he came
He felt that now his life was more complete
to see from whence had come the family name
Spring In Newfoundland
Spring in Newfoundland
It's spring in Newfoundland again
the equinox has come
But we don't have spring weather yet
for winter time still runs
The woods are still in winter garb
there' lots of ice and snow
And winter clothes are still required
for temperatures are cold
The equinox don't always mean
spring is reality
It's just the textbook date that we
learned in Geography
The sun may be on its way back
towards the northern line
But that provides no guarantee
that weather will be fine
For likely past the equinox
pack ice will come to shore
And with the gales of northern wind
cold weather is in store
The skies will be more grey than blue
no tender shoots of green
Upon the alders and the birch
until May will be seen
But once the date of equinox
comes by, to us it seems
That winter sometime will pass by
and spring is not a dream
A time when nature warms a bit
A time with softer wind
A time to look to summertime
Before autumn starts again.
Wayne Taylor (Bonavista)
I walked along the snowy lane,
between the fence on either side;
out to the barren harbour point,
now ringed with ice up to high tide
And looking cross the heaving ocean
an ancient saltbox staring west
grey and weathered, solitary
like some seabird on cliff-top nest
It stood upon this rocky outcrop,
encrusted with the frozen spray;
That was created by the west wind
that had been raging down the bay
The bay and sky and house were weathered
the same color, a dirty grey
Not much splash of color offered
on this drab, February day
And then I noticed in one window
behind the tatters of old lace
A little splash of red that showed
itself within just one glass space
A plastic rose, in parlor window
that in this time seemed out of place
Yet it spoke of some warmer moments
that had now vanished without trace
Wayne Taylor (Bonavista)
Making Sarah Cry
Making Sarah Cry
He stood among his friends from school, he joined their childhood games.
Laughing as they played kickball, and when they called poor Sarah names..
Sarah was unlike the rest, she was slow and not as smart.
And it would seem to all his friends, she was born without a heart.
And so he gladly joined their fun of Making Sarah Cry,
but somewhere deep within his heart he never knew just why?
For he could hear his Mothers voice, her lessons of right and wrong.
Playing over and over in his head, just like a favorite song.
"Treat others with respect son, the way you would want them treating you,
and remember when you hurt others, someday someone might hurt you"
He knew his Mother wouldn't understand the purpose of their game.
Of teasing Sarah, who made them laugh as her own tears fell like rain.
The funny faces that she made, and the way she'd stomp her feet.
Whenever they mocked the way she walked, or the stutter when she'd speak.
To him she must deserve it, because she never tried to hide?
And if she truly wanted to be left alone, then she should stay inside.
But everyday she'd do the same, she'd come outside to play.
And stand there with tears upon her face, to upset to run away.
The game would soon be over though, as the tears dropped from her eyes.
For the purpose of their fun, was Making Sarah Cry.
It was nearly two whole months had past, he hadn't seen his friends.
And he was certain they all must wonder,
What had happened and where'd he been?
So he felt a little nervous as he limped his way to class,
He hoped no one would notice...
He prayed no one would ask.
About that awful day..
The day his bike met with a car,
And left him with a dreadful limp,
And a jagged-looking scar.
So he held his breath a little, as he hobbled into the room.
Where inside he saw a "Wecome Back!" banner,
And lots of red balloons.
He felt a smile cross his face, as his friends all smiled too.
And he couldn't wait to play outside...
His favorite thing to do.
So the second that he stepped outdoors and saw his friends all waiting there,
He expected a few pats on the back but instead,
They all stood back and stared..
He felt his face grow hotter, as he limped to join their side.
For a friendly game of kickball, and Making Sarah Cry.
An awkward smile crossed his face, as he heard somebody laugh.
And he heard the words " Hey freak! Where'd you get the ugly mask?"
He turned expecting Sarah, but Sarah was not to be seen.
It was the scar upon his own face, that caused such words, so mean.
He joined their growing laughter, trying hard not to give in.
To the awful urge inside to cry, or the quivering of his chin.
" They are only teasing", he made himself believe.
" They are still my friends, they'd never think of hurting me"
But the cruel remarks continued, about his scar and then his limp.
And he knew if he shed a single tear, they'd label him a whimp.
And so the hurtful words went on, and in his heart he wondered why?
But he knew without a doubt that the hurtful game would never end,
Until they made him cry..
And just when a single tear had formed,
He heard a voice speak out from behind..
" Leave him alone you bullies, for he's a friend of mine!"
He turned to see poor Sarah, determination on her face.
Standing up for one of her own tormentors,
And willing to take his place.
And when his friends done just that,
Trying to make poor Sarah cry.
The time he didn't join in,
And at last understood why.
" Treat others with respect son, the way you would want them treating you,
And remember when you hurt others,
Someday someone might hurt you "
It took a lot of courage, but he knew he must be strong.
For at last he saw the difference between what is right and wrong.
And Sarah didn't seem so weird, through his understanding eyes.
And now he knew he'd never play again, the game of Making Sarah Cry.
It took several days of teasing, and razzing from his friends,
But when they saw his strength they chose to be like him.
And now out on the playground a group of kids meets everyday,
For a friendly game of kickball,
And teaching their new friend Sarah, how to play...
A Heartful Poem by: Mike Hannon
There were toys to make Hay to rake Whistles to whistle Tin can for a kettle Rubber for slingshots Cans for crab and tansy pots A need to build toy boats And chasing old stinky goats Mixing pies from the mucks And building toy trucks In the spring the snow melts We have to make stilts Hockey sticks from crooked trees Boat builder used them for knees Playing hide and seek You wouldn't find some for a week There were slides to ride Crab apples to hide Catching frogs in the bogs Carving boats from short logs Playing hopscotch, piddley and four corner cush Building old smoky camps on the hill in the bush Pushing our rollers, bikes and barrel hoops Stealing crab apples - oops! Catching old stinky, sticky conners Pushing snow off the ice with our slide runners Our mothers used to say sometimes we were harden Because we were late coming home from Am Perry's garden Going berry picking at Island Pond Brook Bologna and caplin on a smoky fire to cook Some would drink tea, enjoy it and whistle Most of us had good old lemon crystal Trouting had to be the best fun of all We wanted to do it winter, spring, summer and fall CArching conners, flatties, sculpins, caplin, tom cods and squid We used homemade jiggers from hot melted lead Squid jigging was dirty, disgusting and caused quite a fuss But that was just right for boys like us Climbing rocks, cliffs, old barns and trees Getting spanked on going home for having pants with no knees On the wharfs after supper with no adults around Thanks be to God that none of us drowned Killing the gannets that came to our barrel head for scraps In the afternoon going with fishermen to their traps Borrowing the old punt from old Mr. Ed And going out in the evening to jig us some squid Playing spotlight at night On windy days flying a kite Chasing Jack-O-Lantern and spooks Wearing tin cans on our boots Tying old coats and brin bags behind our bikes was a must That way we could fly lots of dust We were always on the run Having some kind of fun Doing all the above was exciting and cool It's a wonder we found time to turn up at school I think for now that's enough of my garbles Before some of you think I have lost my MARBLES!
Old Men And Spring
Old Men and Spring
As February neared its end
and March brought promise of a spring
The thoughts of old men turned to times
when they were young and in their prime
with fishing season on their minds
and there were nets to mend
Down by the beach and in the lun
of stages and old fishing stores
They looked across the broader bay
with pack ice jammed in many days
and rafted up the beach a ways
a blinding whiteness in the sun
Yarning and yearning, passing views
they told the stories of their years
Of capelin sculls while cod did run
of making fish in summer sun
of autumn times when it was done
and then went home to fish and brewis
The Christmas Tree
The Christmas Tree
It was right before Christmas and I know it was cold
The wood stove was groaning, all cracked up and old
A large snowy tree was dragged in the room
Leaving a mess that Mom chased with her broom
Then Dad with his hammer and nails made a stand
And tied it with string to the wall with his hand
It was a magical moment and we danced near the tree
Hanging tinsel, small toys, and an Angel, you see
She stood at the top so elegant and poised
That we all stopped laughing and making our noise
For a moment transfixed, then back to our chore
Decorating the tree and clamoring for more
To hang on the branches as our hands stuck with myrrh
And the house smelled like Christmas and a great Balsom Fir.
Written by: Jean Legge Hiscock
Hunting Bull Birds
ave you ever walked out over the "young" harbor ice
Blue black and so thin
That it cracked and rented under your feet
And you think any minute that you would fall in
But leaning on the dory, with creepers on your feet
You'd creep quickly along with thought forlorn
Above the water dark and deep.
Then suddenly in the distance the open sea appears
But you cannot stop our you might go through
And take the other men with uou
Then suddenly the dory is pushed into the lapping waves
And you have jump with a kerk-plunk unto the dory staves
Or fall into the ocean blue and curtail the trip for them and you
Now the little Bull Bird is so fast and quick upon the rolling sea
That you have row with all your might to keep in line with he
And often when the gun was set to eject the deadly blow
The little bird had disappeared within the depths below
Then you wait and wonder where he'd reappear
And if you were in line with him your mate would have to steer
And you'd fire the shot as quick as a wink
Or the bird would not be there.
Leaving the chopping water was a tricky game as well
To row the dory unto the ice and away from the ocean's swell
And quickly jumping overboard, and pulling with all of your might
Until the dory was safe and dry upon the ice so tight
So we would creep home as we did go upon the ice so blue
Hoping that we would not fall in and catch a terrible flu
The little birds lay in the boat ; but only then a few
Enough to roast for supper, unless mother had a stew.
The Fish Hawk ( Osprey? )
Have you ever watched the fish hawk
Dive for his evening meal
As he glides upon the wind so free
And hovers high with such accuracy
Over the prey below
The plunges headlong into the cove
To strike the deadly blow.
They say that the fluttering of his wings
Attracts the fish below
To rise up to the surface, and then its life bestow
To the piercing talons of the hawk
For it seems God would have it so
If it is not the fluttering of the wings
That brings the fish to the piercing stings
It must be the radar vision of the bird's eyes
That allows him to see so far down
And bring the fish in unto the ground
This very industrious, and skillful bird
Is not a scavenger at all
Eating only what he catches alive
To help his young to survive
And by feeding the lion's share to them
As if to do less would be a sin
It's amazing to us humans, how God has wonderfully made
The winged creatures of the air
With such great instincts of paternal care
In the complex food chain of the earth
Where God has given all things birth.
He builds his nest atop the tallest trees
Away from predators below
And soars around with threatening voice
To drive away the foe.
In God's great scheme of life and death
Each creature has a place
In the survival of the species
And nothing goes to waste
And the lowly connor , in the cove surely has its place.
The Great Call
The people who fought in the wars so brave
Have taught us all not to crave
For power or wealth or selfish pride
But to remember conceit and ambition to chide.
Life consists of greater things
Than spacious halls of nobles and kings,
The soldiers and sailors of World War one
Have secured for us a greater home.
This home was founded on love and fear
For relations and friends they held so dear
They fought for our democracy
And kept our land so strong and free.
In trenches cold and wet
The fought for values we cannot forget
They suffered privation, and mental distress
That we might have a life we consider the best.
On the sea or in the air
These people fought with such skill and care
That they beat the enemy at his game
And gained for themselves meritorious fame.
However some died in the sudden blast
From the guns on deck or the aces pass
While others drowned in the pitch dark night
So far away from the land light.
Such sacrifice and courage
And love of native land
Deserves our greatest honour
For every woman and man
Who left their peaceful country to fight in a foreign land.
Home is where the heart is
And Newfoundland will always be
A place of cherished memories
For older men like you and me
A place where as a child I walked
Bare foot upon a sandy shore
Where all was quiet and peaceful then
And in some distance the ocean's roar.
In the summer time when the tide was out
You could dig for the "cock" and "hen" for fun
Because clams were not on our menu then
As we played in the scorching sun
It was fun to catch the "barney stickle" to
In the little pools on the "bar"
When the tide was out; but you could not pout
If the thorns went in too far.
At night when the tide was in
And a light breeze rippled the bay
The moon's bright band shone from shore to shore
As it shimmered and danced in it's lay.
Oh! The summer night could be so peaceful and still
As the moon shone so bright from above
You could hear a man cough, a mile away
If standing upon a hill
But now the traffic growls and roars
Along a paved highway
Where once we walked on a quiet road,
Surrounded by God's great sway.
There's hustle and there's bustle at Christmas time, you know
As frost gathers on the pane and the ground turns white with snow
People scurrying here and they're busy all day long
Awaiting the Christmas holiday, the feasting and the song
What is there in this season that makes us feel so good
It is comradeship those friendly smiles, the carols or the food
Maybe it's the spirit that permeates the air
The wonderment of children knowing Santa'll soon be here
Could it be the Yuletide logs cracking on the fire
The pudding cakes and candy of which we never tire
Or is it all the shopping which is a favourite part
Searching for a fitting for those dear to our heart
Is it looking for a Christmas tree amidst the forest green
Hoping to find the perfect tree of which we often dream
Decorating, hanging lights, making such a fuss
Those are things which we all do that means so much to us
Still we know there's more than that, more than meets the eye
Especially on that holy night, we gaze toward the sky
That star is still there, shining over centuries still the same
Reminding us that long ago t'was the might that Jesus came