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All Left Home
To all of you who will listen I will sing to you a song About the sons and daughters who had to leave their home. They went to school and took a trade A job they thought to get, But when their term had ended There was no work as yet. They had to have experience And that was hard to find, If they did not get a chance to work What else were they to do. So they had to leave their homeland And their families far behind, To go to another country for a job they had to find. Now all you loving parents In this world of unhappiness, Ask God to lend a helping hand To ease your loneliness. To all you sons and daughters wherever you may roam, Remember that we love you And wish that you were home. We hope and pray maybe some day You will all return again, When we get that better tomorrow There will be jobs in Newfoundland. Now to conclude my story There is one thing I have to say, I am just a lonely mother And I miss my family. And since they are gone away Life will never be the same, Cause all that we have left at home Is their picture in a frame. Winnie Cooper Queen's Cove, NL
Girls of Twin Falls
Here is a poem from the 1960s honouring the wives of the workers at Twin Falls, Labrador, during construction of the hydroelectric plant I think of these girls, Those wonderful dolls, Who followed their menfolk up to Twin Falls. No fresh fruit, no paved road, no cultural events. They arrived in Muskegs And first lived in tents. But they loved the wide spaces, The freedom, the snow, The sun on their faces, The soft Arctic glow. The long winter evenings, When man's work was done. The wild News Year's Parties, The laughter - the fun. They were cold - they were lonely, And they surely were bitten. Their heroic deeds Will just never be written. So here&'s to those wives, Those wonderful dolls, Who stuck to their menfolk And settled Twin Falls. Submitted by Max Tomlinson, B.Sc Civil Engineer, Born at St. John's Newfoundland. Worked for BRINCO at Twin Falls and Churchill Falls.
The Old Iron Bed
Life in the cove was normal, I guess. Fishing closed and also the mine. More people moved west year after year; My dad went for weeks at a time. Many a night I stayed with my Nan, We'd yarn as we rocked in our chairs. I'd always sleep in the old iron bed In the room at the top of the stairs. When the clock struck eleven, Nan shut down the stove And slide closed the old-fashioned lock. Say a short prayer and kiss me goodnight, I'd count all the stairs as I walked Up to the room of the old iron bed, Through the window the moonlight would stream. I'd snuggle down under a mountain of quilts, Ready to start on my dreams. I'd think of the stories of long, long ago I'd heard from my Pop 'fore he died Of his oldest brother who went off to war And fought for his country with pride. In the foxholes, when lying at night in the dirt And bombs bursting over his head, That soldier had dreams of his home far away And wished for that old iron bed. Soon, off to the new house with Pop and his bride, The bed grew a new family tree. The cries of each newborn reflected the love Of the couple who were meant to be. Better times came and the kids claimed the bed, Sleeping at times 'foot to head'. Sleepovers many and whispers of plans Were shared in that old iron bed. Time just flew by and the kids quickly grew, Married, had kids of their own. Most moved away a new life to begin, My family remained here alone. One day Pop was healthy, still running his boat, The next, couldn't move or speak clear. Soon came the day Nan was left all alone, This bed shared my questions and tears. One day came the teacher from over the shore And boarded with Nan for a while. She kept her good company that first lonely year And gave that old iron bed style! The quilts laid aside, she had a duvet And a dust ruffle hiding her stuff. The iron bed gleamed with a new coat of paint, And sported a cushion of fluff. I've grown up and changed, off to school in the fall And life just keeps moving ahead. Once in a while I'll visit and stay For a night in the old iron bed. When Nan goes to heaven and the house changes hands And her treasures to others are shared, My secrets I'll keep with the old iron bed From the room at the top of the stairs.
It Started To Get Dark At Six
It Started To Get Dark At Six It started to get dark at six Before September met its end The fall had surely settled in The dark time of the year begun Spring now seemed so much like a dream So far behind, so far ahead And in between the then and now Less sun, more days of grey instead Before you know October comes And with it autumn winds will blow To strip the leaves from aspen trees And show bare branches to the sky Their swaying motions seem to me Like grasping arms that want to hold Onto autumn, keep it a while Long past the time when it should leave But autumn had to say goodbye To give space for the winter time To have its turn as seasons will Before it then in turn gives way To vernal equinox and spring But in between the now and then There would be stormy, snowy days To endure til the springtime came A season leaves, a season comes We take the seasons as they come Though with the autumn equinox There seems to be a change in thought A poignant feeling hangs around The woods, infusing in the mind A sense of longing and of loss That will remain till solstice time For when the blizzards sweep the land And temperatures dip down real low It sometimes kindles primal fears That are unsettling at the time We look ahead to equinox A wistful longing just for spring When warmth once returns again And we are given longer light
A Poem for Downhome
A poem that pays Downhome its due, maybe, a trifle, overdue, but, never fear, the 'hail' is here, and, thanks, to thee, the tales are true! Its Newfoundland and Labrador gives labour's love, and lots of lore; a painter's paradise, no doubt, is music to the artist's mouth; A potpourri of all things, Newf, and Labradorian, forsooth, will please the palate, and the eye, for anyone, who happens by; Thus, in its decades since the launch, it sets its sails, undaunted, vaunts, o'er waves of charted and uncharted seas, a mag of choice, and sure to please! Congratulations! Bob LeMessurier
IF ROCKS COULD TALK
LIGHT HEARTED POETRY INSPIRED BY CHANGE ISLANDS, NEWFOUNDLAND John F. Porter If rocks could talk, what yarns they might impart, Of island ports of varied sorts, each one a work of art. Of island folk as strong as oak, embracing challenge with a grin, Who'd give their all, if one should fall; that everyone should win. If rocks could talk, what stories they might tell, Of little boys with tinker toys, tearing wildly cross the dell. Of little girls with golden curls, with dollies in for tea, Or perhaps, tales of jolly whales, frolicking upon the sea. If rocks could talk, what sagas they would share, Of heroes unknown who sailed alone, where few would ever dare. In wooden boats that'd barely float to support those loved ashore, As did their fathers, their sons and daughters; then, now, forevermore. If rocks could talk, what narrations might we hear, Of music grand, by the local band; sweet nectar for the ear. Of mad dancing and wild prancing beneath the kerosene light, Til dawn arrives amidst surprise; where away has passed the night. If rocks could talk, I'd listen til I could hear no more, To japes and jokes by many folks, and laugh til I was sore. To learn how vast might be my past, it's value is no great mystery, For like everyone beneath this sun, I am the summation of my history.
In Our Senior Years
In our senior years what can we offer? A road to follow, the wisdom of age; Our kin behind us look for guidance Where, oh where, is the age of sage? Maybe there unknown before us In the hearts of those who know Wisdom lies deep within the heart Filled with love, compassion, soul We've lived through a lot, survived a lot More than our kids can comprehend; Before they've run the miles of our lives They can use our wisdom again and again, Gained from going far astray, Running amok, losing the game, Then coming back to an even keel; Let patience allow them to do the same.
Back In The Day
Green grass grows wild and free Dreams in the meadow run through me How summers were fun, long and hot Not a ounce of care or worry, not a drop In summer, Mom would call us in at dark One last game of tag, before home we'd embark It was happy times, time was on our side We didn't have a lot but took it all in stride In the fall after school we'd play for a short while Then Dad would have us bring in wood from the wood pile In out of the rain, with cold feet and wet socks A welcoming fire with spruce from the wood box In winter months we walked to school With hand knitted cap and mitts made of wool Cheeks were red from the evening's play And angels were made in the snow as we lay No worries, as kids we were carefree Doing what we want, we were in our glee Some of the greatest memories along the way Didn't need much, but had it all, back in the day
My Childhood Shore
My Childhood Shore The memory of when I was young Returns me to this stretch of shore That I left when I was eighteen And never lived there anymore I moved along, I moved beyond Those childhood days along the shore I left behind those childhood things That I now view in memory's store The house still sits below the hill This family place I still adore Just like I did when I was young My happy place, my childhood shore No longer now is it my home I've gone for fifty years or more But I go back there now and then In memory from my childhood shore My mind will always link me to Three generations, maybe more Of family who preceded me And lived along my childhood shore - Wyane Taylor
Frost Flowers Frost Flowers on the window panes From February's bitter cold When she lit shavings in the stove And watched the tiny fire take hold She opened up the damper wide and placed some spruce half-junks inside Good seasoned wood from in the store which last year's cutting did provide The kitchen soon was toasty warm so she called for them to come down The toast was made, the tea was steeped and they all sat the table 'round Another winter's morning in a family home out in the bay With thick frost flowers on the panes that took a while to melt away -Wayne Taylor
A Special Place
Cape Spear was Ruthie's special place. She always went out there, In sunshine, or in rain and fog, Most any time of year. One day as we were strolling, She placed within my hand A tiny, just-ripe bakeapple - A bit of Newfoundland. Now Ruthie is no longer here, But she's not dead to me. Her laughing face and loving arms Live in my memory. In dreams, I tread those rocky paths. I'm happy and I'm free. And I am never all alone, For Ruth walks there with me. -Cynthia Helen Gullage For Ruth: Allison Ruth Horwood Best (August 29, 1949 - September 18, 1998)
Pleasure Harbour Days
By Stewart Pye, Lodge Bay, Labrador I remember the days when we were just boys Up in Pleasure Harbour, how we suffered the flies. When the weather was damp, the mosquitoes would come And many a days you could fill an oil drum. There were no idle moments. We had plenty to do. Saw wood, chop up splits and bring water too. There were dogs to be fed, and fish to be dried. With our fingers so tender, that we almost cried. We used to go trouting across the cove in the brook. Sometimes we caught them without either hook. Out on the point, we would go berry picking. If you went down in the beach, you would sure get a licking. We were never allowed to stray far from the door. If we went on the wharf we were grounded for sure. For entertainment there was not much to do. We killed mice by the hundreds, and we caught sculpins too. Sometimes we went down to the Cape for the mail. If the water was calm we might see an old whale. Up in the back cove, the ducks they were plenty. Many a time my father killed twenty. With the bakeapples ripe, we all took to for the hill With boilers and buckets and tin cans to fill. The time that we spent on the hill no one knows but we picked enough berries to buy a new stove. When the fish was all dried and the twine stowed away and everything was ready to move in the bay. We would move to the Cape for a month in the fall. We would meet some new faces and all have a ball. Now to conclude and to finish my song It's not really short and it's not really long. When the day's work was over and our prayers were all said, My mother would sing as she tucked us in bed.
One time it was molasses bread We often ate at many times When we were young, those long gone days Those memories now, a pleasant kind Our bread, fresh-baked once every week Those three-bun loaves a crusty brown And what a smell around the house When we came in from out around We'd have a slice, perhaps two or three With molasses dripping over all The butter that was spread on thick A real feed that I recall Sometimes we'd put no butter on Just molasses heavy, sweet, and thick And it would soak down through the bread Then from our fingers we would lick Those days gone by when we were young We never said molasses bread And when we wanted some to eat We called it lassy bread instead We got our lassy down at Ryans It poured out from a puncheon tub Into what jug we carried there They stopped the flow with wooden bung But now it comes in packaging Tin cans and cardboard, plastic too To drizzle on our store-bought things Not quite the same as what we knew But still I like my lassy bread I put it in my woodland pack When I boil-up and roast salt fish For tasty feed I will not lack One saying that we used to have As slow as cold molasses we said For one who didn't move too fast But it mattered not upon our bread Wayne Taylor Bonavista, NL
I'm Missing from the Darn Map
I was looking for a map with Botwood on it. Three maps no Botwood so I wrote this. Why am I not on the map I'll show you just where I am at I live in Botwood and that should be good To get me put on the darn map How do I get on that map I'm on such a load of them apps Just pick up your phone and on me you can zone But, you can't see me on the darn map How do I get on the map off the highway, that's where I am at You can find me, just give'r up the Exploits River But, don't look for me on the darn map Oh, how do I get on the map so I called my MP for a chat He took it to Parliament they said I'm a torment Now I'll never get on the darn map How do I get on the map I guess now, I'll just have to pack I'll move to St. John's I just can't go wrong Cause then I'll be on the darn map. Peggy Snow, Botwood, NL
Old Time Snaps
Old Time Snaps Sometimes like single old time snaps Sometimes like films, old silent kind I find the passage of my years Will replay slowly in my mind I need no album to review Or moving film of any kind For these are from my memories Of times and places left behind I see in these the way it was Before I moved along, beyond Experiences that were my youth And how those years have swiftly gone Those visual memories when they come Of folks and places, school and play Inject a longing to go back To my home place there in the bay To see again for old time's sake In hope that still I can restore The way it was, the folks I knew To walk again down by the shore But I know that reality Will be so different from before For things have changed, I've moved along I can't go back there anymore.
My Childhood Shore
My Childhood Shore The memory of when I was young Returns me to this stretch of shore That I left when I was eighteen And never lived there anymore I moved along, I moved beyond Those childhood days along the shore I left behind those childhood things That I now view in memory's store The house still sits below the hill This family place I still adore Just like I did when I was young My happy place, my childhood shore No longer now is it my home I've gone for fifty years or more But I go back there now and then In memory from my childhood shore My mind will always link me to Three generations, maybe more Of family who preceded me And lived along my childhood shore
Red Cliff The little island, just a rock Lies near the beach, not too far off It breaks the western wind a bit And gives protection to the cove Such that our ancestors could build Their stages, slips, and flakes and stores To make a living on this shore They struggled to create a place In this small curvature of beach Where they could live a decent life And on the rocky hillside that Sloped steeply upwards from the shore They built their homes, and fenced a plot To hold themselves for evermore In summer when the sunshine streamed Across the bay to light the shore It was a bright and pleasant place. The distant view of Cutler Head And of Long Island out the bay Were sometimes hazy in the heat Of long and lazy summer days And as descendants perhaps now we Three generations down the line Would roam the beaches, climb the hills And we would see what they had built The houses, church, the school, the stores And the white picketed small plot With stones to mark those who before Had lived in this place, on the shore
Woman Of The Cove
Woman of The Cove When household chores had all been done Sometimes she'd walk along the shore A grassy path atop the bank Behind the stages and the stores Sometimes she'd sit upon a rock And gaze intently out the bay And lose herself in nature's scene Those quiet moments in her day In summer shade of woodland path There she felt an affinity For fragrance of the fir and spruce And moments of tranquility Sometimes she'd go to see the stones Of those, her line, who once before Were born and lived and loved and died Here on this little stretch of shore Sometimes in autumn she'd observe The yellow leaves fall to the ground And felt the summer slip away While autumn winds blew them around When winter storms raged on the shore From window she looked on the bay And contemplated wind and wave And looked ahead to warm spring days The seasons came, the seasons passed She saw a wonder in them all Enjoying moments when she could In summer sun or autumn squall There in the cove where she was born Where she saw nature day by day When there were interludes in time That made her part of land and bay