Gilliandr's Blog

Random Historical, Social and Cultural Moments



The Dirge of the Ex-Vacationist, Wiarton, 1935

The Canadian Echo – Wiarton, 25 July 1935

The Dirge of the Ex-Vactionist

I’ve just got back from Howdenvale where I holidayed last week;

My arms are brown, my nose Is red, and I look a perfect freak.

My dainty frocks seem far too small, I fear I’ll thro’ them burst

My skirt clings tightly to my legs- I’d shed it if I durst


I swear I’ll never go again – coming back is such a bore,

My mind’s not on accounts and codes – but seagulls on the shore.

I do not care that stocks are up, nor streamline cars are swish

The only line that interests me is the one that gets the fish.


The pavements hot and dusty tease my callous and my corn,

I long to run along the sands in the cool of early morn.

I hate the noise of street cars that go through the town pell mell,

There is no music half so sweet as the Boarding house cow bell.


I love the Cedar Waxwings that on the berries light,

And the orioles in the orchard showing orange in their flight.

The whip-poor-wills sang me to sleep – though I didn’t need a thing,

But now I’m back where sparrows roost and starlings have their fling.


I loved to search in fragrant woods where beauty spots are found,

Where lady slippers pitcher plants and lilies red abound.

I loved to watch the sunset glow, and the moon so calm and clear,

Far from the cities’ sounds and scents and Hydro’s electrolier.


I grumble as I get to work, then wipe my blinkin’ eye

I just had a bright idea that I think I will give a try

I’ll put away a sum each week out of my blooming kale

And next year have far longer up there at Howdenvale.

Ode to a Microfilm Reel on a Midwinter’s Morning, 2014

Ah historical research inspires! Just sharing this small poem inspired by Library and Archives Canada’s microfilm room….


“Ode to a Microfilm Reel on a Midwinter’s Morning”
by Madelaine Morrison

Turn, O turn, dear microfilm reel
Thy sepia-toned secrets are yours to reveal.
In print too small for the naked eye,
You help the working hours fly by.
Such technology! (Though half a century old)
I spin the crank, and lo! behold!
A miracle on a smudged glass plate,
If only the image will align itself straight.
So shall I sing my minstrel song,
And hope that the next reel won’t take me too long.

Wearin’ of the Green, Montreal, 1911

Montreal Daily Star, 17 March 1911, page 8

Poems in Honour of St Patrick’s Day

(Revised Version)
By RL Werry, Montreal

O, Paddy, dear, and did ye hear the news that’s goin’ round?
The Shamrock, once forbidden to be grown on Irish ground,
May on St Patrick’s Day be worn, as everywhere ‘tis seen.
For now there is no law agin the wearin’ o’ the green,
I met with naybor Roberts, and he took me by the hand:
Says he, I’m proud I’m Irish, don’t ye see now, where we stand?
Oh, the Irish are the bravest men the world have ever seen
And the Irish now are honored by the wearin’ of the green.


Oh, the wearin’ o’ the green is now
Approved by King and Queen-
Long may they reign and aye maintain
The wearin’ o’ the green.

Sure, Erin’s sons will ne’er forget the blood that they have shed
To guard old Britain’s colors dear, the white and blue and red:
So wear the Shamrock in your hat and plant it in the sod,
For now ‘twill grow and flourish, though once under foot was trod.
The Shamrock and the Union Jack will warm each Irish heart,
And we’ll fight and die ere from the dear old flag we’ll part;
We covet not the wealthy of lands that lie beyond the sea,
For rich and poor are equal ‘neath the flag of liberty.


O, brother Briton, should you be hard pressed on every hand,
You always can depend on us, in home or foreign land;
When enemies against you rise, no matter where they’re seen,
Your first and last defenders will be wearers of the green.
When man can stop the blades of grass from growing as they grow,
And when the leaves in summer time their verdure fail to show-
Then I will change the color that I wear in my caubeen,
And then forsake the Union Jack and the wearing of the green.

A Pleasant Farewell, Poem, Montreal, 1911

Montreal Standard, 1 July 1911, page 14


A Pleasant Farewell

He said “Good-night,” and he held her hand.
In a hesitating way.
And he hoped that her eyes would understand
What his lips refused to say.

He held her hand, and he murmured low:
“I’m sorry to go like this,
It seems so frigidly cold, you know,
This “mister” of ours, and “Miss”

“I thought perhaps—-“ and he passed the note
If she seemed inclined to frown;
But the light in her eyes his heart stirrings smote.
As she blushingly looked down.

She said no word, but she picked a speck
Of dust from his coat lapel.
Such a small- such a wee little, tiny fleck.
‘Twas a wonder she saw so well.

And it brought her face so very near,
In that dim, uncertain light.
That the thought, unspoken, was made quite clear.
And I knoe ‘twas a sweet goodnight.

Poems in Honour of St Patrick’s Day, Montreal 1911

Montreal Daily Star, 17 March 1911, page 8

Poems in Honour of St Patrick’s Day


Over here in England I’m helpin’ wi’ the hay,
An’ I wisht I was in Ireland the live-long day.
Weary on the English hay, an’ sorra take the wheat
Och! Corrymeels an’ the blue sky over it.

There a deep, dumb river flowin’ by beyont the heavy trees,
This livin’ air is moithered wi’ the hummin’ o’ the bees:
I wisht I’d hear the Claddagh burn go runnin’ through the heat
Past Corrymeela, wi’ the blue sky over it.

The people that’s in England is richer nor the Jews
There not the smallest young gossoon but thravels in his shoes!
I’d give the pipe between me teeth to see a barefut child,
Och! Corrymeala an’ the low south wind.

Here’s hands so full o’ money an’ hearts so full o’ care,
By the luck o’ love, I’d still go light for all I did go bare,
God save me, colleen dhas, I said; the girl she thought me wild,
Far Corrymeala, an’ the low south wind.

D’ye mind me now, the song at night is mortial hard to raise,
The girls are heavy goin’ here, the boys are ill to plase;
When one’st I’m out this workin’ hive, ‘tis I’ll be back again-
Ay, Corrymeala, in the same soft rain.

The smoke o’ smoke from one ould roof before an English town!
For a shaugh wid Andy Feelan here I’d give a silver crown,
For a curl o’ hair like Mollie’s ye’ll ask the like in vain,
Sweet Corrymeala, an’ the same soft rain.

Moira O’Neill

Poems in Honour of St Patrick’s Day, Montreal, 1911

Montreal Daily Star, 17 March 1911, page 8


Poems in Honour of St Patrick’s Day





There came to the beach a poor exile of Erin

The day on his thin robe was heavy and chill,

For his country he sigh’d when at twilight repairing

To wander alone by the wind-beaten hill;

But the day-star attracted his eyes sad devotion,

For it rose o’er his own native Isle of the ocean,

Where soon, in the fire of his youthful emotion,

He sang the bold anthem of Erin go bragh


Oh, said is my fate! Said the heart-broken stranger,

The wild deer and wolf to a covert may flee;

But I have no refuge from famine and danger,

A home and a country remain not to me:

Ah! Never again in the green shady bowers

Where my forefathers liv’d shall I spend the sweet hours,

Or cover my harp with the wild-woven flowers,

And strike the sweet numbers of Erin go bragh.


Oh! Erin, my country, tho’ sad and forsaken,

In dreams I revisit thy sea-beaten shore,

But, alas! In a far foreign land I awaken

And sigh for the friends who can meet me no more

Ah! Cruel fate! Wil though never replace me

In a mansion of peace where perils can chase me?

Ah! Never again shall my brothers embrace me!

They died to defend me or live to deplore!


Oh! Where is my cabin door, fast by the wild wood?

Sisters and sirs, did you weep for its fall?

Oh! Where is the mother that look’d on my childhood?

And where is the bosom friend, dearer than all?

Ah! My sad heart long abandon’d by pleasure,

Why didst though doat on a fast-fading treasure?

Tears like the rain-drop play fall without measure,

But recapture and beauty they cannot recall!


But yet, all its sad recollections, suppressing,

One dying wish my lone bosom shall draw,

Oh! Erin! An exile bequeaths his blessing!

Dear land of my forefathers, Erin go bragh!

Oh! Buried and cold, when heart stills its motion

Green be thy fields, sweetest isle of the ocean,

And thy harp-striking bards sing aloud with devotion

Oh! Erin, mavoureen! Erin go bragh!


                        Thos Campbell




Whatever fate has stored for me,

I hold no greater pride on earth,

Than I bear an Irish name

And know I am of Irish birth!


                                    Annie Alley

                                    (Charlottetown, PEI)




Oh, tell me, will I ever win to Ireland again,

Ashore from the far North-West?

Have we given al the rainbows, and green woods an’ rain

For the sun an; the snows of the West?

Them that goes to Ireland must travel night an’ day,

An’ them that goes to Ireland must sail across the say,

For the len’th of here to Ireland is half for the world away-

An’ you’ll lave your heart behind you in the West

Set your face for Ireland,

Kiss your friends in Ireland,

But lave your heart behind you in the West.


On a dim an’ shiny mornin’ the ship she comes to land,

Early on, early in the mornin’,

The silver wathers o’ the Foyle go slidin’ to the strand,\

Whisperin’ ye’re welcome in the mornin’

There’s darkness on the holy hills I know are close aroun’

But the stars are shinin’ up the sky, the stars are shinin’ down

They make a golden cross abouve, they make a golden crown,

An’ meself could tell ye why- in the mornin’

Sure an’ this is Ireland,

Thank God for Ireland

I’m coming back to Ireland the mornin’

                                    Moira O’Neill


Poem in honour of Robert Burns, Montreal, 1911

Montreal Daily Star, 26 January 1911, page 8


The Poet’s Corner


The Birthday of Robert Burns

(January 25th 1759)


Sweet in the ear of fame of yore a bard

With lips a lover’s wooed the heart of time;

To him his love was meet reward,

Ere fame awoke to fine his song sublime;

Within his heart the sheen of nature glowed;

A patriot’s fire his noble sour endowed,

And heart and soul found ecstasy in rhyme,

That stirred the heart of time and soul of fame

To garland with the loves of men the poet’s name.


Twas where the landscape sighs when Bonnie Doon

Sings mournfully as winter stays its glee,

The cottar’s heart, in loght of Januar’s moon,

First heart the voice disguised of heaven’s decree

A Scottish poet born.  The north wind blew

A Hansel-blast, but none the omen knew

Though drear the willows soughed across the lea

And every somber pine and bearded oak

Sustained the solemn birthday hymn till day awoke.


AndScotia’s sons with patriotic cheer

Join festival to celebrate his birth

The spirit of his song still hovers near

To lustre friendship and its well-timed mirth:

His song was nature’s incense of the heart

With nought to hide because it knew no art-

The song of life as life is found on earth-

Sweetpess is sorrow, evil in the good

The only song man sings and yet has understood.


How oft his minstreisy entints our joys:

How oft his genius lindeth friends sincere:

If life and joy we know be but alloys,

‘Tis these his love and poesy endear:

Hail for the land whose poet-son he was:

Hail to the land that fought in freedom’s cause

Hail to its love as brethren let us seek

The virtue void of art, the patriot’s pride that’s meek

JM Harper



Oh for a Day and Nicht in Scotland, Montreal, 1911

Montreal Daily Star,

7 January 1911, page 13

Oh! For a Day and a Nicht in Scotland

At least one thousand Scots from the United States and Canada will make a pilgrimage together to the land of the heather hills next summer, at the time of the Glasgow Exhibition, according to plans that have already been made. They will sail from Montreal, the Allan liners Heaperian and Grampian having been chartered. It is this return to the home land that has suggested the poem of Mr John MacFarlane of Montreal here given:

“Oh! For a Day and a Nicht in Scotland”

Oh! For a day and a nicht in Scotland,

Far’mung the hills that I kent lang syne,

Wi’ the clear Clyde water at near-han’ glintin’

An’ a cronie or twa that since were mine;

Oh! For a day and a nicht in Scotlnad

Whaur mem’ry lingers an’ fond loves twine.

Oh! For a day and a nicht in Scotland,

To con lik scene o’ my childhood’s play,

To roam since mair I’ the simmer gloaming’

To list the lark I’ the daw’in grey;

Oh! For a day and a nicht in Scotland

Free frae the cark o’ the follsome fray.

Oh! For a day and a nicht in Scotland,

To wander licht owre the bent sae broon,

To pu’ the gowan an’ the yorlin’

An’ hear in the loanin the burnie’s croon;

Oh! For a day and a nicht in Scotland

Wi’ cheery faces ap’ dwallin’s roun!

Oh! For a day and a nicht in Scotland

The hert cries oot like a bairn distrest

For the times gane by I’ the caller mornin’

Wi’ youth’s sweet joy at its blithesome best

Oh! For a day and a nicht in Scotland,

Or life dees doon I’ the waitin’ West.

John MacFarlane

Ere, before.

Poem in Honour of St Patrick’s Day, 1911


Montreal Daily Star, 17 March 1911, page 8

Poem in Honour of St Patrick’s Day

Savoureen Deelish

Oh! The moment was sad when my love and I parted

Savoureen Deelish, Eileen age!

As I kiss’d off her tears I was nigh broken-hearted

Savoureen Deelish, Eileen age!

Wan was her cheek, which hung on my shoulder,

Damp was her hand, no marble was colder;

I felt that again I should never behold her,

Savoureen Deelish, Eileen oge!

When the word of command put our nish into motion,

Savoureen Deelish, Eileen oge!

I buckled on my knapsack to cross the wide ocean,

Savoureen Deelish, Eileen oge!

Biskwere our troops, all roaring like thunder,

Pleas’d with the voyage, impatient for plunder,

My bosom with grief was almost torn asunder,

Savoureen Deelish, Eileen oge!

Long I fought for my country, far, far, from my true love

Savoureen Deelish, Eileen oge!

All my pay and my booty, I hoarded for you! Love,

Savoureen Deelish, Eileen oge!

Peace was proclaim’d, escap’d from the slaughter,

Landed at home, my sweet girl, I sought her,

But sorrow, alas, to the gold grave had brought her,

Savoureen Deelish, Eileen oge!

George Coleman Jr



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