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.
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
Speaking softly your father's tongue,
Words carried from a faraway place.
Living securely among kin.
Bending, lifting, digging,
Starving with a gnawing in your belly.
Cold, ragged and dirty
You grew anyway.
Despite this place,
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,
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
Grown children left and returned,
Left and returned,
Pounding a rhythm of life here.
The trees pushed back,
Leaving neatly ploughed land
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.
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.
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.
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.