|The Scottish Emigrant's Farewell
Fareweel, fareweel, my native hame,
Thy lanely glens and heath clad mountains,
Fareweel they fields o' storied fame,
Thy leafy shaws and sparkling fountains.
Nae mair I'll climb the Pentlands steep,
Nor wander by the Esk's clear river,
I seek a hame far o'er the deep,
My native land, fareweel, forever.
Thou land wi' love an' freedom crown'd,
In ilk wee cot and lordly dwelling
May many hearted youth be found,
And maids in ev'ry grace excelling;
The land where Bruce and Wallace wight,
For freedom fought in days o' danger,
Ne'er crouch'd to proud usurpin' might,
But foremost stood, wrongs' stern avenger.
Tho' far frae thee, my native shore,
An' toss'd on life's tempestuous ocean,
My heart, aye Scottish to the core,
Shall cling to thee wi warm devotion.
An' while the waving heather grows,
An' onward rows the winding river,
The toast be "Scotland's broomy knowes,
Her mountains, rocks and glens forever!"
The Last Sunday in England
The emigrants kneel in the old parish church.
For the last time.....it may be forever.
They scarcely had known that it would be so hard,
The ties of a lifetime to sever.
For the last time they look on the ivy-clad walls.
For the last time they hear the bells ringing.
'Twas there they were married, and now to that church
How fondly their sad hearts are clinging!
They listen once more to the good Rector's voice,
They will try to remember his teaching;
And hope they may never forget what he says,
As they look in his face while he's preaching.
That voice they have heard by the bed of the sick---
That face they have seen by the dying---
At the altar, the font, and the newly dug grave,
The measures of salvation supplying.
For the last time they stand where their forefathers names
They read on the headstones and crosses;
There are newly cut names, and others so old,
They are covered by lichens and mosses.
Then a last look they take at a green little mound,
Where one of their children is sleeping.
And gather a daisy that grows at the head.....
Then turn away silently weeping.
The neighbours are waiting to bid them 'God Speed'
To think of them each one professing.
At the gate of the churchyard the old Rector stands
To give them his fatherly blessing.
He placed in their hands the best of all gifts,
A Bible and Prayer book, at parting;
They could not say much, but he knew what they felt,
To their eyes the warm teardrops were starting.
"Keep these in your heart," as he gave them, he said,
"And trust to the cross of Christ only.
Then the Lord will be with you wherever you go,
And then you need never feel lonely."
The Census Taker
It was the first day of census, and all through the land,
The pollster was ready, a black book in hand.
He mounted his horse for a long, dusty ride,
His book and some quills were tucked close by his side.
A long, winding ride down a road barely there,
Toward the smell of fresh bread wafting up through the air.
The woman was tired, with lines on her face
And wisps of brown hair she tucked back into place.
She gave him some water as they sat at the table;
And she answered his questions.....the best she was able.
He asked of her children, she had quite a few,
The oldest was twenty, the youngest not two.
She held up a toddler with cheeks round and red;
His sister, she whispered, was napping in bed.
He noted the sex, the color, the age
And the marks from the quill soon filled up the page.
At the number of children, she nodded her head.
He saw her lips quiver for the three that were dead.
The places of birth she "never forgot."
It was Kansas.....or Texas? They'd moved quite a lot.
They came her from Scotland, of that she was clear,
But she couldn't remember how long they'd been here.
They spoke of employment, of schooling and such.
The could read some and write some.....though really not much.
When the questions were answered, his job there was done;
So he mounted his horse and he rode toward the sun.
We can almost imagine his voice loud and clear,
"May God bless you all for another ten years."
Time tumbles forward.....it's now you and me,
As we search for the names on our family tree.
We squint at the census and scroll down so slow;
As we look for that entry from long, long ago.
Could they only imagine on that far away day,
That the entries they made would affect us this way.
If they knew, would they wonder at the yearning we feel,
And the searching that makes them so increasingly real.
We can hear, if we listen, the words they impart,
Through their blood in our veins and their voice in our heart.
Grannie's Hielan' Hame
Where the heather bells are blooming just outside Granny's door,
Where as laddies there we played in the days of long ago,
Neath the shadow of Ben Bhragie and Golspie's loudly stane,
How I wish that I could see my Granny's Hielan' hame.
Away in the Hielands there stands a wee hoose, it stands on the breast of the brae,
Where we played as laddies sae long, long ago, and it seems it was just yesterday.
I can still see old Granny, a smile on her face, as sweet as the heather dew,
She kissed me goodbye, wi' a tear in her eye and said, "Laddie, may God bless you."
This is a tedious task, much work,
Not a great tree, my family,
Not any kind of tree,
A spindly twig......
A sapling of little importance,
No forest giant we.
Persuasive, soft and still.
"Daughter, if you don't remember us......
-- Dot Stutter
Climbing The Family Tree
There's been a change in Grandma, we've noticed as of late.
She's always reading history, or jotting down some date.
She's tracing back the family, we'll all have pedigrees.
Grandma's got a hobby, she's Climbing Family Trees.
Poor Grandpa does the cooking, and now, or so he states,
He even has to clean the stove and wash the dinner plates.
Well, Grandma can't be bothered, she's busy as a bee,
Compiling genealogy for the Family Tree.
She has no time to baby-sit, the curtains are a fright.
No buttons left on Grandpa's shirt, the flower bed's a sight.
She's given up her club work, the serials on TV,
The only thing she does nowdays is Climb the Family Tree.
Last week she got the proof she needs to join the DAR.
A monumental project - to that we all agree,
A worthwhile avocation - to Climb the Family Tree.
There were pioneers and patriots mixed with our kith and kin,
Who blazed the paths of wilderness and fought through thick and thin.
But none more staunch than Grandma, whose eyes light up with glee,
Each time she finds a missing branch for the Family Tree.
To some it's just a hobby, to Grandma it's much more,
She learns the joys and heartaches of those who went before.
They loved, they lost, they laughed, they wept, and now, for you and me,
They live again in spirit around our Family Tree.
At last she's nearly finished, and now we're all exposed.
Life will be the same again.....this we all suppose.
Grandma will cook and sew, serve crullers with our tea.
We'll have her back, just as before.....that wretched Family Tree.
-- Virginia Day McDonald
O for the Bloom of My Own Native Heather
O for the bloom of my own native heather,
O for the burnie, the glade and the glen;
Land of rare beauties all gather'd together---
Lasses all lovely and brave hearted men.
Up on the mountain, or down in the valley,
Lightly, O let me once more freely roam;
Round me again let my early friends rally,
And welcome with kind words the wanderer home.
Talk not to me of the valley of roses,
Beautiful lakes in some land far away;
Climes where dame Nature her jewels disposses,
Starbeams whose lustre turns night into day.
Let them be all that their poets have vaunted,
Sunrays that dazzle may light up their zone,
Yet is my spirit more truly enchanted
By bright eyes that kindle up light in my own.
O give me the bloom of my own native heather,
Give me the burnie, the glade and the glen,
Land of rare beauties all gather'd together---
Home of true lasses and brave hearted men.
|Favorite Genealogy Poems|
From the lone shieling on the misty island,
Mountains divide us and a waste of seas;
Yet still the blood is strong,
The heart is Highland,
And we, in dreams, behold the Hebrides.
The Dark Isle
As mists of the evening creep over the hill
And the sea round about her is silent and still.
Forbidden dark island so dreary and cold,
What mysterious tales can your black rocks unfold?
While fishermen row past your dark ocean shore
And old wives are spinning and praying once more,
No falsehood to dread, no malice you hold,
You are sworn to your secrets of stories untold.
The old men will tell not a bird or a nest,
At times, not a seabird will stop there to rest.
But you lie there in mist and cold watery waves,
No harm is yet spoken, no evil you show,
Tis sacred you stand to folks long, long ago.
No curses come from you or to you are shown,
Just a lonely dark island, a mysterious throne.
But tho' they've not seen, they'll tell what they know,
Of kings and of princes who died long ago;
Who rest in your coves and still to this day,
They are seen in your shadows and thru the sea spray.
So toast to yon mountains and summits of blue
And here's to the glens and the meadows of dew.
It's not of these hills or valleys I dream,
But the lonely dark island, the home of the kings.