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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

59 Years and Counting...

The following is a re-publication of a poem that was sent to Web Talk a while back. On the anniversary of Newfoundland and Labrador's entry into Canada it seems like an appropriate time to revisit it.

Grandfather and Confederation
by John B. Davidge

I was almost three months shy of my fifteenth birthday when Newfoundland and Labrador became the tenth province of Canada and I remember that day and the days leading up to it as if it were only yesterday. To say that my parents and grandparents were anti-confederates would be very much of an understatement, but it was my grandfather’s strong opposition to it that I remember most. His words and actions are recorded here as I’m sure he would want them to be.


Lest we Forget.

April the first, nineteen forty-nine
Was a day that I’ll soon not forget.
The radio blared that the “terms” had been signed,
Filling Grandfather’s heart with regret.

I can still see his eyes filled with anger and hate
At this terrible thing they had done.
A true Newfoundlander he felt t’was too late,
And he mourned as if losing a son.

He first lit a candle then he pulled down the blinds,
And he placed some black crepe on the door.
He looked somber and sad in his black suit and hat,
And the black satin armbands he wore.

He was eighty years old but he climbed up the hill
To the church with it’s steeple and bell.
His eyes filled with tears as his hands gripped the rope,
And he softly tolled the death knell.

There wasn’t a coffin, a body or grave,
The dying was all in his mind.
This joining with Canada wasn’t for him,
A patriot true to his kind.

I was only a “gaffer” but I still recall
How his voice rang with passion and pride.
“You have sold out your birthright,
You’ve let down the flag
That your forefathers fought for and died.

That up-along bunch will be down here in droves,
They’ll force you to flee from your home,
There’ll be taxes on this, there’ll be taxes on that,
And you won’t have a thing of your own.

They’ll tear up the countryside, take all the land,
They’ll catch all the fish in the bay.
You won’t be allowed to have horses and cows
Unless you are willing to pay.

They have filled you with promises, all of them lies,
They say there is nothing you’ll lack,
They’ll give you the Bonus, the Pension and such,
And with taxes they’ll take it all back.

They got you to thinking the skies will be blue,
And the sun won’t again fail to shine,
But you’ll have second thoughts when this land of your birth
Is alive with corruption and crime.

You’ll have a new anthem,
you’ll have a new flag,
They’ll watch what you write, say and do.
T’will be everything Ottawa, nothing St. John’s.
Mark my words what I’m saying is true.

That Smallwood’s a traitor and you’ll see the day
When the people will stand up and shout
That he’s not worth the powder to blow him to hell,
And his friends will be kicking him out.”

But nobody heeded what Grandfather said
And nobody heeded his tears.
They called him a babbling, senile old man
Who was exaggerating his fears.

They all went their way with a smile in their hearts,
Hoping only good fortune would fall.
But I wondered in time would they look back and say:
“Wasn’t Grandfather right after all?”

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

But dear grandfather lived to be 90 years old
And the state put his children through school
And they built for him hospitals, roads and the rest
And he died thankful rather than fooled

Anonymous said...

Grandfather's children said good-bye to their lives;

Said goodbye to their homes and goodbye to their wives;

His children now wander hopelessly lost;

Yes the roads have been paved but look at the cost.

Anonymous said...

Now the roads are all crumbling of that there's now doubt;
They were built so the baymen make their way out;
To places in Canada, the east and the west;
They stole our bright future and left us a mess.

Anonymous said...

So instead we spend fifteen weeks up in Fort Mac
But unlike when at sea there's good hope we'll get back
The tories all want us to move into town
But thanks to our country we don't need to drown

The merchants would send us to sea for eight months
Low prices, low wages, no cash from those cunts
They'd rob us all blind and steal all of our fish up
Today I don't bow to no merchant nor bishop

We fought through two wars and got through a Depression
But the worst fight of all was to flee the oppression
Of the merchants and barons who thought we were dumb
I'm a free Newfoundlander not under their thumb

Anonymous said...

I don't doubt that you townies are full of conviction
But remember the roads aren't feds' jurisdiction
That the highways were built is by no means in doubt
And it's you f**ing townies who want baymen drove out

Anonymous said...

I'm not a townie and never will be but the destruction of the feds has happened to me;

I fish for a living, the life that's the best, you can shove Fort Macmurray and all of the rest;

The fish fed my family for decades and then the feds gave it away and made it all end;

Now it's 10/42 for what it is worth but I'd give it all up for the land of my birth.

So you can keep your pensions, your EI and stamps but leave me a real life instead of the camps.

The Canadian wolf has taken our land and expects us to cower with our hats in our hands;

Some say that the roads are not federal sway but what of the fishing that they took away?

The crackies in Canada think they know best so they took all the riches and left us the rest;

Don't tell me it's my fault you ignorant kind for they sold it to others and left us behind;

My family is split, my grand kids away, all in the search of a better day's pay;

They wander and work on some oil field all day but their hearts and their minds are still in the bay;

This place of our birth was stolen by crooks and those who say naught can look at the books;

They brought us to ruin the day we came in and isn't that just the most terrible sin?

Anonymous said...

You can't rant you can roar and lament for your nation
Well before '49 there was much outmigration

Off to Gloucester, and Dixie and of course to New York
Now I don't need a passport to find any work

Yes our cousins move on, but no need to be glib
At least they don't die with no nurse in a crib

Anonymous said...

If you have a good novel or separatist rant
You can fund it through a Canada Council grant
Let the Editors tally the loss of our nation
And then on page two demand Equalization

Spend our money on polls for the pink white and green
While hiding results of the cancer test screen
Danny Millions, his friends and the whole merchant class
Can shove that flag right up their separatist ass

Calvin said...

Well Myles,as I put my tie on and got ready for work today,I had heard the most interesting thing .

That Mr Harper has announced that if he does get a majority Governement in Ottawa he will have the Federal Governement of Canada put into law the fact that Quebec is a nation within Canada.The only question I have is will he do that for evry single other group as well.

What a shame,that in our greatest moment of weakness,we were fooled into believing the lie's and treachery of a country that only wanted the resources ,and not the people.It's no wonder then that no matter where you go in this country today you will NEVER be a canadain ,but an uneducated ,rum drinking,EI recieptant.Who only wants to take what you can get in the form of welfare from Canada.

So,as my grandfather had his day of sorrow ,I yet may have my day of joy ,as I watch Quebec leave this federation and free Newfoundland and Labrador from the biggest mistake that it had made in its history .Confederation.

Thank God we have a place were we as Newfoundlander's and Labradorian's can let the world know Patriot of the unethical and biased treatment we have gone thru and still face today.Thank God we have citizens like you Myles that let the world know of the injustice we as a nation face.

To hell with Tibet,Free Newfoundland and Labrador .

Anonymous said...

I see that our neighbours next door in Quebec

Once again have their knife up to Ottawa's neck

We used to have Leaders who'd stand up to Meech

But when shit hits the fan, our man Dan hits the beach

Anonymous said...

I have no dog in this fight. Thanks for the laugh people, that was so funny.