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Ann Thompson's poem JANNETT on page 30 of the Middle River book was terribly mutilated in the publishing process. This is the correct version. Most copies of the book that were distributed contain this insert; for those that don't, a printable version of the poem, suitable for insertion into the book, is provided at the bottom of this page.

Jannett

by ANN THOMPSON

In this hard-scrabble place

Cradled among rolling hills

Of spruce and maple

So close together

The sun struggled to melt

The snow and ice - you were born.

Wild and free

You roamed the Mountain forests

Barefoot.

Speaking softly your father's tongue,

Words carried from a faraway place.

Existing.

Living securely among kin.

Bending, lifting, digging,

Always hungry,

Starving with a gnawing in your belly.

Cold, ragged and dirty

You grew anyway.

Despite this place,

You survived.

 

And one night, under a full moon,

Yellow-lit lanterns swinging,

In the cool evening breeze,

You walked your people down the Mountain. Like fireflies, you floated down

To the good, sweet earth below.

Singing as you stepped,

Walking, shoeless, to meet the future.

 

You were courted and married late

A farmer who owned fertile land

In the Valley.

Owned machinery, cattle, a clapboard house,

And later,

Extra cream.

The extra cream waited in shining cans

At the end of the newly gravelled driveway,

Was picked up and rushed to the City, Returning in small glass bottles on your doorstep.

 

Later, you packed the lanterns away,

And watched the light bulb

Swinging in isolation from its cord.

It threw a dim, cold light

You half-admired.

 

You flourished.

Grown children left and returned,

Left and returned,

Pounding a rhythm of life here.

The trees pushed back,

 

Leaving neatly ploughed land

And meadows.

You planted flowers

To place in glass jars on your table

Dressed with a soft cloth you wove

In your spare time.

 

The fiddles lurched

And your feet stomped

To the old tunes and new.

You loaded up the back of the pickup

With friends and kin,

Left your Gaelic behind,

Visited other places to spend time once so scarce,

But now it floated above the night.

 

When he died you sold the farm,

Machinery and land.

You stayed the house.

No son or daughter returned.

Four-lane highways

Pulled them to gather,

In the company of strangers,

Amounts of silver and

A longing for escape from

Their mind-numbing, mind-bending work

Of gathering for Things.

 

Leaving a gnawing hunger

For something more.

They came to visit

Now and again,

Dragging sullen children,

Red-eyed from watching

The world on a screen.

Hands soft and white,

Unable to wield an axe

To keep themselves warm.

 

But now you sit.

A spectator.

Looking back on your work and life,

Able to see that

Their dreams were not your dreams,

And able to gather in the changes.

You are content.

You know your journey was rooted

In the necessity of time

And it was good.

And yet,

You do not give up hope

That one of your blood

Will return to the land and begin again

A life of meaning In this hard-scrabble place Called Home.

Here is a printable version of Ann's poem formatted for insertion into the Middle River book between pages 30-31.

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