Friday, April 20, 2007

Another writer in the family

They say creativity runs in families, and I suspect its true. Seems most of my brood have a creative streak in one of the arts ... and use their talents in various ways.

I suppose I shouldn't really be surprised ... my dad was a magician, my mum a music teacher, my sister is a painter, and I have a brother that ties flies for fishing that are pieces of art. We can all hold a tune as well.... but I was the only one that ever
seemed to write or had a calling for writing (hey guys .... leave a comment here if I am wrong here and you have just been hiding it for years!).

But of course you need to look further than this when it comes to the creative stuff ... and my Uncle Stanley was a keen letter writer and also a poet.
I never met Topper (as he was known by family) as he was killed in action in the second world war, but his memory has been kept well alive for all us kids, by my mum who loved him dearly. My brother was even named after him ... (the mad fisherman, fly tying brother)

He was in the Canadian Forces as a Private in the North Nova Scotia Highlanders Regiment. At once point he was stationed on Kiska, an island in the Rat Islands group of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska.

Have a read ... even on a hot Aussie summer's day you can feel the cold from this poem he wrote ...

"Kiska"

Maybe God was tired, when he made this little Isle,
He took the things left over and put them in a pile.
He dropped them in the ocean, and paused then for a spell,
Then said, "I'll call it "Kiska". This earth must have a Hell!

And what a hell this "Kiska" is, so misty, damp, and drear,
and grows upon the soul, for there's no sunshine here.
Where the fog rolls up the valley, and the clouds drop o'er
the hills. Where the rain comes down in torrents,
and the wind is never still.

Where in your daily duties, you plunder in the mud.
Where the whirling, sweeping westerlies, coagulate your blood,
The dampness penetrates you, to the marrow of your bones,
And you wake up in the morning, with aches and pains and groans.

When in the dead of summer, you shiver in the cold, and
the hardships that you suffer, turn young men into old.
Where there's no entertainment, no music, joy, or mirth.
Oh! What a place this "Kiska" is, it's really hell on earth.

And in the midst of winter. When all is ice and snow. You
have your furry blizzards, when the north wind starts to blow.
It steals away your senses, it knocks away your pride.
If ever I get off this lonely Isle, I'll ne'er come back again!


(The Canadians built a monument to their dead to friendly fire, out of captured Japanese 13.2mm cartridges. A few years later, reportedly, Japanese fishermen broke the memorial.)

Kiska has an interesting history of its own ... click here if you're interested ... It's been listed as a National Historic Landmark by the USA due to its involvement in the second world war ...

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