Song of our Ancestors – Carolyn Thompson – Poetry Prize from this years Cornwall Public Library and Cornwall and Regional Writer’s Society Awards

We at The Cornwall Free News want to help promote the Arts in our area.   We’re proud to print Ms Carolyn Thompson’s winning poem from this years Cornwall Public Library and Regional Writer’s Society Awards.

“In 1784 a group of people came to begin new lives in what is now Ontario. There were three main points of entry, and what is now the City of Cornwall was one of these. On the banks of the St. Lawrence, United Empire Loyalists made a camp and began the long process of receiving British government supplies, drawing lots for their land grants and finally continuing either westward or eastward to forge new homes out of the wilderness.”

This poem is dedicated to the memory of these United Empire Loyalists.

Song of Our Ancestors

In seventeen hundred and eighty four,

Boatloads of refugees came to this shore,

Full of hopes, dreams and determination –

This new land would be their salvation.

Men, women, children, their lives in disarray,

Camped in small groupings near the bay,

Drew supplies, lots for land, rested a while,

Then bravely began new lives in exile.

Some went westward, others to the east,

Many remained their traveling had ceased,

Within a short time a town had been formed,

The banks of this river forever transformed.

We continue to welcome newcomers ashore,

Always remembering those days of yore,

When our ancestors came to make a new home,

After losing almost every thing they owned.

This is the song that our ancestors sing,

“Open your doors, be most welcoming,

To those who are weary and need a new life,

End all their sadness, relieve all the strife.

Give to newcomers the chances we had,

Their contributions we gratefully add,

And then as one nation we’ll face tomorrow,

Filled with love, life and liberty, not sorrow.”

Carolyn Thompson, March 2009

Life may not be the party we hoped for,
but while we’re here we should dance.

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1 Comment

  1. Very pretty sentiments.

    We Original Peoples must make Canadians incredibly uncomfortable, considering our perspective is just a bit different. This sort of mythical historical worldview must be looked upon skeptically in light of the colonization, mass execution, residential schools, ethnic cleansing and resource expropriation so common in North American history. Ditto for the rest of the world really, but when it comes to “The New World” people seem to forget about centuries of mass bloodshed and write it off as necessity in the march of progress.

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