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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Canada (01/29/09)

TITLE: The Clearances
By Melanie Kerr
02/04/09


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I face the east and feel the wind
And dream of hills and glens of home
Where once my children laughed and played
The black faced sheep of landlords roam

Rounded up like sheep ourselves
Our homes were burnt to cinder piles
There was no place for crofters here
Expelled we were from lonely isles

What could they give to compensate
The loss of land and home and kin
A paltry sum and promise of
A land where new starts can begin

A voyage crossing stormy seas
To Canada compelled to go
Too little food, too little hope
What destiny I could not know

The land assigned was far away
So many miles of trail and track
Winter cold, and freezing flesh
Endless nights and skies so black

I carved a field from forests green
Felled the trees, a cabin built
With blistered palms I ploughed the ground
Upon the soil the seeds I spilt

A Highland faith in Godís good grace
I placed upon each passing day
With every stroke of harvest scythe
With upward gaze Iíd stop and pray

Winter thawed, and spring days warmed
Summer baked and autumn aged
And as the months and years combined
The battle for survival raged

And then one day with dawning sun
A thought, so wondrous came to me
No rent was owed, no landlordís threats
That day I knew that I was free

Authorís note: During the period of the Highland Clearances more than half a million people left the Highlands of Scotland in search of a life elsewhere. Many went to Canada.


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This article has been read 1097 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 02/05/09
And Canada is the richer for the heritage gained through its immigrant population. Nicely done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/06/09
You have many memorable lines in this excellent poem, but my favorite one was:
Summer baked and autumn aged.
Catrina Bradley 02/06/09
Fabulous rhyme and meter. I love the tale told through your poetry; a enjoyable lesson on the history of 2 countries. Lovely.
Joanne Sher 02/07/09
Just beautiful imagery and storytelling in this lovely verse. Fascinating history I knew nothing of too. Wonderful.
Linda Payne02/09/09
I can't imagine what it must be like to have to leave your country and start life anew, but you captured the thoughts and feelings beautifully.
Jan Ackerson 02/09/09
This is beautiful! I didn't know anything about this bit of history, and you told it with such elegance.
Karlene Jacobsen 02/09/09
A poetic memoir of someone's journey to a new land and forging a new life. Love it!
Sharlyn Guthrie02/09/09
Gorgeous poetry! You evoked deep feeling with the words you chose to tell the story.
Sara Harricharan 02/11/09
Wow. This is very well done.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge02/11/09
What an enjoyable way to learn history! Beautiful.