I oft look up upon my wall
where old photos hang
of my ancestors
who made the journey to the new world

what a decision it was
to leave their beloved
for the new land called Canada

across to Belfast to set sail
in 1820
finding passage on an old
west India brig

eleven weeks of suffering
hunger, illness and stench
before the awaited cry
land ho

only to be driven
back out to sea
by a storm so violent
certain death seemed sure

ordered below
hatches closed
for three more weeks

at one point the captain
opened the hatch to shout
“Lord have mercy on your souls
for we are lost”

but survive they did
fortunate as well as brave
to work on the construction
of the rideau canal

some few years later
moved to Lower Canada
a township to be named West Templeton
across the river from Ottawa

with minimal basic tools
to clear the land
build a shelter
create a home

unimaginable hard labour
from dawn to dusk
with inadequate clothing and low shoes
in the depth of winter

four generations
would never leave
successful farmers
for more than a century

they all lie
in a small cemetery
at the foot of one of their farms
five generations now with my parents

I am proud to join them all
sometime soon
with my wife there now awaiting
me to come

often I lift my glass
to toast them
for allowing me
to share their brave blood

                                                                            Brian H McLatchie

Thanks to Brian and to Brenda Turner who made the connection.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *