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Newfoundland has always had robust credentials when it comes to musical talents. On my unsubstantiated scale it's a close second to Nova Scotia's amazing depth of Canadian folk stars. Both have Celtic roots and until I went to Newfoundland I hadn't discovered where the Rock really excels. I've been to Nova Scotia three times in my life and have a couple of solid friends who kept the faith with me for quite some time. However, I've never come away thinking I must write a poem about them.

In six short days in Twillingate I came across several characters and a few landmarks that simply can't be resisted. In Newfoundland if you're not from there you are from 'away'. Sounds simple doesn't it?

What I hadn't realized is an 'away' person isn't made to feel apart from the inhabitants, they're embraced! Even in Ireland which was on the top of my list of places visited as the most welcoming I was never made to feel like I was part of the family. For the most part, West coasters are a more subdued lot and the majority of us who are lucky enough to live on Vancouver Island are from away. It was not the case when I first arrived in Ladysmith in January of 1970. Ladysmith was a dingy hick town just off the highway going to Victoria. My mother had accepted a position here and was living alone while my dad finished up his job in Kitimat. She bribed me with a trip to England to entice me away from Lloydminster Alberta/Saskatchewan. She needn't have tried so hard because I was past ready to leave Canadian winters far behind forever. My folks adopted Ladysmith as their new home town and I've always been grateful. It's where my son was born and now we live here again. My brother moved here too after he retired and bought a home. My parents choosing such a pleasant place to live has meant my son has roots he can claim as home turf. He's not from 'away' when it comes to this island. This is something I lack as a Canadian because an 'instant' company town such as Kitimat did not foster connections and instead instilled in me and many others a desperate need to escape. I left at the age of sixteen and have only returned once. When I drove through town I wasn't overcome with nostalgia of better days but filled with the euphoria that I had made it out alive.

This is where Newfoundland is different. It has connections generations deep. When I stand on ground where a man can tell me about his brother's land alongside of his substantiates the fact it's been in the family since their forefathers came from away across the ocean. Immigrants who stayed put and when their children and grandchildren leave Newfoundland it's always pulling them back because their connections are Rock solid. This entrenched love of their homeland inspires poets like me. Poets who are into writing about soaked up atmosphere they've made connections with. Poets who feel the deep bonds of others for their corner of the world. Poets who travel to experience the lives and loves of where they're just visiting. For the first time in my travels away from my adopted island town of Ladysmith on the West Coast I came upon a place that made me feel more welcome. I can't believe I could have had a better time if I'd driven there and seen that. Twillingate habitants got into my bones. I composed a poem about the patriarch of the Young family who I referenced several times in my travelogue. After a false start I submitted the poem to Downhome which is a magazine I noticed everywhere in Newfoundland. Back issues of Downhome were in hospital waiting rooms, cafés, B&B lounges, bars and had the appearance of being well read too. It's the size of The Reader's Digest and it boasts photos, stories, poetry, recipes and other tidbits from their readers most of who are Newfoundlanders but there's no restrictions on who can sign up, submit and subscribe so I did all three. When I left I felt as if I too owned a piece of the Rock which is what Newfoundlanders do for you. Bless them all!


"Tigers bloom where there's oodles of room." Zodiac Zoo

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The following comments are for "Rock of Inspiration"
by Pen

No Place Like Home
Home is where is the heart is, is an overworked cliche` indeed, but the truest is my estimation.

We may have lived there for homestead or 6 months or a year...but one that stands out that connected with that we look back on with a yearning for what was...that we are always drawn back to...that we feel a bond with that can never be will always feel like HOME!

Ah nostalgia! Thak you for this Pen!


( Posted by: Beatrice Boyle [Member] On: July 18, 2012 )

Falkland V Twillingate

Maybe a trip to the Falklands next Pen

Where is that Twillingate poem....

The road to the Isles in Twillingate
we stopped to look and see
Icebergs Whales and festivals
while drinking west country tea
The Twillingate Sun long gone
fishing declined tourism shines
Two and a half thousand trundle on
stay strong Twillingate stay strong

( Posted by: Fairplay [Member] On: July 18, 2012 )

Bea & Fairplay
You are right Bea. I think I'm lucky to have found a place I can call home even though it's not where I was born. Sort of an in-country immigrant. When my parents moved here in 1969 I had no way of knowing it would develop into something lasting. Neither did they. They were just tired of Kitimat winters. The first Spring my mom spent in Ladysmith she went into paroxysms of joy at each new bunch of blooms.

Eric - your poem is too forlorn to be about Twillingate. These people only mourn when they are off the Rock. Newfoundland is not as remote as the Falkland Islands either. Just a six hour ferry ride from Sydney NS or two hour flight from Halifax NS. You'll just have to go there yourself to experience it. heh heh

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: July 18, 2012 )

Just Six Hours

As you are aware my second home is in the middle of nowhere..hehe.. Inbredshire as Stephen would Call it... and even too remote for Ivor. I have lived on a rock and probably a hard place plus everywhere in-between....even for a very short while on a VI Closed for winter haha... I like a bit of remoteness.

Thats what I like about Vancouver... blimey even Stanly Park can be remote at times round by Siwash Slah-kay-ulsh...... Yet you probably know False Creek Granville Island Gastown awash with people colour and smells with mountain backdrop all over the spot. Six hours on my bicycle I can be at any of them and back.... Six years have just disappeared in a flash and I am still in holiday mode.

I didn't mean to make Twillingate sound forlorn but I read some of your travel stories and WE (the Royal WE) must be quite different... OK I haven't done the Twillingate trip but lived next door to Wales in England walked on icebergs flowing down the mountains up in the Rockies with all those lakes full of Glacier water.... Rock concerts and festivals....bags full of them here.....

Dont you just Love Pacific Side Canada all year round.... and we have that big VI to protect us in the event of a Tsunami.... God help them on LuLu though that place will just sink...

The The Twillingate Sun that I said had disappeared was their first Newspaper (maybe no page 3 Girl)and I picked up on the tourism bit due to the decline in fishing..... Everyone trundles when the weather gets bad.

Wonder if Twillingate was named after Billingsgate the famous fish market ?

( Posted by: Fairplay [Member] On: July 19, 2012 )

When I was visiting Gus & Geraldine Young on my last evening in Twillingate, Gus brought out a photograph one of the Inn's guests had sent him from England. There was this bloke leaning on a gate in front of a very English cottage and on the gate was a sign - Twillingate. I'm fairly convinced Gus' family was from England and not Ireland. Didn't matter a fig to me. They are all Newfoundlanders. The poem I submitted to Downhome about Gus in now on the most viewed submission page. Hopefully it will be printed in the magazine. Sure would please Gus and family no end if it was. I have other Newfoundland/Twillingate poetry rattling around in my mind but the one about Gus was my priority.

I don't believe you'll ever belong in Vancouver Eric. Any more than you belonged in Culgaith. You spent too many years in the forces. Perhaps Chester? I doubt it though.

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: July 19, 2012 )

New World Gypsy

I belong everywhere Pen

Fought for my right to live where I like. So I chose the best. Everyone I meet here appears to make me welcome...No such thing as an original Canadian even have my doubts on the First Nation.. Canada is just one big mixing pot

The New world is Babylon and my mates are everywhere.

Surely you of all people should understand the Postal System. Just put a stamp and address on it and pop it in a Box.... Soldiers were (are) moved about like the post..... send what you like where you like....don't even bother with a return address. Some mysteriously disappear or get lost along the way.

Talking of faraway places (well more than 6 Hours) Outer Mongolia.... Ulan Bator I posted a picture on the British Embassy website there and was asked if I would mind sharing my pictures...It reminded me that in past times if you visited a Yurt you would be invited to share the bed for the can get very cold in Mongolia.

Now you have me thinking where do old soldiers belong..... Surely no one is mean enough to toss them aside once they stop fighting for them.... Hahaha you bet they are... Cameron for one... and there are no bigger culprits than the USA. It's just as well Canada made the Draft Dodgers welcome or like Cassius Clay they would still be fighting for their life.

( Posted by: Fairplay [Member] On: July 19, 2012 )

You're right
I've given some thought about where career soldiers and their families feel at home. It's a topic brought up by Americans whose parent was in the military and they moved a lot. People like John Denver who found his home in Colorado. Canada is a very welcoming place for sure. Newfoundland the most welcoming of all. I don't believe it's because you are retired British military that Canada is comfortable. oh .. there's no way I could accept you are a New World 'gypsy' seeing as most of the world you visited in your 'formative' years was bankrolled by the British government. How about you belong anywhere so you don't spread yourself too thin? heh heh

( Posted by: Pen [Member] On: July 19, 2012 )



haha love the term... I sort of see it now as smothering the smouldering ashes of the British Empire...Beating out those last flickering flames before Cameron and others before him pissed all over it.

( Posted by: Fairplay [Member] On: July 19, 2012 )

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