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A Poetic Tribute to Bury’s Green, 1944

February 15, 2022

Back in the days before television, when neighbours gathered together and created their own culture, composing and publicly reciting verse was a great way to share the ideas that brought the community together. At one 1944 gathering in North Verulam, Henry Walker shared his observations of his neighbours, which was then preserved in the community’s history.

Bury’s Green is about at the centre of the triangle formed by Fenelon Falls, Bobcaygeon and Burnt River.

You’ve read of Devitts, the Verulam and Nogies Creek too
Now see what we Bury’s Green folk do
We’re all very busy including ‘pap’
But I want you to know we’re still on the map

I not very young and I’m not real old
I’m not very sick, just got a cold
I’ve never been far from home
So don’t expect very much of a poem

Gordon he fell and broke his knee

‘When after the banty hen’ said he

But he’s out again as you may have heard

And he’s after a different kind of a bird

Giff Grandsen tried to cut his toe

And to the doctor did quickly go

Then he traded jobs with his wife

He says he’s having the time of his life

As for Geordie Gransden happy is the word

He plays the fiddle and drives a Ford

Alex Smith says he’s not a quittin’

But keeps on raising bacon for Britain

‘Happy Jack’ left his home at the Creek

And has gone to live with a widow so meek,

All About the wedding that Hizey will tell

Is that he tied the knot and tied it well

John Coulter is an enterprising man

Works all summer as hard as he can

But he hunts in the fall when the work is slack

One year he had twins when he came back

You’ve likely all heard of Herb McGee

He’s got a new man where Eddie used to be

This new man’s name is Peter McPhail

If we were all like him we’d need no jail

Goodhand’s the man who bakes the bread

And now he’s twenty-five years wed

He says this bread won’t make you thin

Keeps your waistline straight and full of vim

Then comes E. Coulter that I happen to know

He’s a real good pilot but he flies too low

If you see him coming take a tip from me

And get behind the nearest tree

Do you know John Tiers with the curly hair

Its not very dark–its rather fair

He had two girls and on them he’ll save

For they’ll never need a permanent wave

Cess Johnston’s a good fellow they all will tell

For ten long years he’s served Tiers well

But now with his wife and daughters two

He’s going to show us what he can do

I haven’t seen Walker for a week or two

But we hear on the phone he’s started to chew

If this is the truth his word’s no good

For he promised his wife he never would

Hiram Coulter is a good old scout

‘Twill soon be spring and you’ll see him out

His youngest son is big and strong

He worked in the bush all winter long

Said Mrs. Wright its a quiet life

For now I’m a widow instead of a wife

But now it’s different the light’s lit late

And a V-8 coupe sits at the gate

Then there’s Harry Akister over there

He lives with the girl with the curly hair

When the go for a drive she sold the lines

And Harry thinks of bygone times

John Flett and the wife they got the flu

Johnny got the hiccoughs too

So they took him to the county town

Before the noise got quieted down

Norman Pogue lives at the end of the line

He says he likes his new wife fine

But as time goes on he’ll get old too

And the town might buy him a suit of blue

Geordie Armstrong got a good chance

And went to Peterboro to a dance

But he got back again the very same night

We all know Geordie wouldn’t get tight

Ernest Hughes life is a quiet life

Would even quarrel with his wife

We might all some better be

If we lived as close to the church as he

The teacher boards with Tommy and Ruth

She’s not bad looking to tell you the truth

She not too tall and she’s young and spry

She’d make a good wife in the sweet Bye and Bye

George Cayley is the next on the street

For buying bonds he can’t be beat

He’s subscribed every loan so far

And still has money to drive his car

That Wes he sure does beat the Dutch

To tell the ‘Warder man’ so much

‘Bout wolves and deer a-being seen

Round the tamest corner in Bury’s Green

Jim Southam and his dad keep batch

So far Jim’s never struck a match

He’s talked to teachers by the score

But always thinks there’ll be one more

Then there’s Archie who lives on the hill

He doesn’t keep batch, but is single still

He never married, I don’t know why

Some say he’s Scotch, but I think he’s just shy

The next on my mind is G.M. Flett

He has a girl? Oh yes you bet!

But that girl of his has gone so far

That it takes a lot of gas for his car

There’s Doug and Wood Jones a fine pair of men

If you’re looking for help, I sure recommend

One of them tripped and fractured his nose

And we hear the other has ordered a lot of new clothes

There’s Geordie and Cliff I nearly forgot

They both have cars and drive them a lot

If Cliff would do for Geordie what Geordie done for him

They’d soon have help to put the garden in

And last but not least on this slate

Is our old friend Pennock and his good mate

To week-night meetings they always go

And he always sits in the very front row

Now I hope no one will take the least offence from this

Its written all in fun and if some of you I did miss

Perhaps I’ll write again some day, and hope to see you smile

For after all its our friendships that really make life worth while

For more Bury’s Green memories, check out the Tweedsmuir History:

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