Downhome Magazine

Hannah in her Chair

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Uncle John lies on the captain's chair
He'll rise when we walk in
The milk is scaling on the stove
Frances keeps a watchful eye
Paddy's on the other side of the stove
He rolls a cigarette and lights it
And Hannah is in her rocking chair.

The house is big but warm and cosy
Uncle John is weary from his work
He's up before first light and in his motorboat
His brothers are in the boat beside him
There's a living to be made if you work at it
Twice a day they'll make the trip to Skurv Island,
Pull the traps and set them back.

Life is simple in the little cove
You live with the seasons
Work hard and put your faith in God
Do your part and he'll do his
And maybe the catch will be up this year
Hopefully the price as well
You won't get rich, you won't go hungry either.

"A few more boughs, Francie dear,"
Says Hannah from her chair
The dark rimmed glasses clash
With the white of her hair
The voice is so soft and clear
She has seen it all from her chair
She knits and rocks and makes another pair
Of mitts or socks for the men to wear.

Visitors have come in from the "other side"
It's Aunt Mag and her little grandson from Carbonear
There'll be news to hear and more to share
They are kindred spirits, these older women
Their men were best friends I'm told
The kitchen is big, it matches the house
Hannah is queen of this house,
Her throne is her rocking chair.

"Maggie dear, there's fresh milk in the jar
Some fresh fish in water in the pantry
You're welcome to it, and oh, I've put some
Cream in a bottle for you and the little dear."
You never leave empty handed from here.

The house is gone now, the people too
I stand where it once stood
I wonder how a house so big could stand
On this small piece of earth
When I close my eyes I see a little boy
Walking beside his nan, they enter the house.

Uncle John lies on the captain's chair
He'll rise when they walk in
The milk is scaling on the stove
Frances keeps a watchful eye
Paddy's on the other side of the stove
He rolls a cigarette and lights it
And Hannah is in her rocking chair.

-Cyril Griffin
New Perlican

 
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