Abegweit, You Were My Cradle
(A response to a song by Lennie Gallant)
Abegweit, you were my cradle.
Though the sea eats your red flesh away,
The day will come you’ll be my grave,
Thyme, spruce and bay scented on the waves.
Though the sea eats our red flesh away,
The Man-Born-of-Speech sees his dreams
Of thyme, spruce and bay sent by the waves
To cheat the cradles and rob the graves.
Man-Born-of-Speech, have you ceased your dreams
Of swift hawks eating sweet goldfinches
To feed their cradles and stock your graves
Covered with sparkling morning dew?
Swift hawks eating sweet goldfinches,
The day will come you too will see my grave
Covered with sparkling morning dew
On Abegweit, cradled on the waves.
Depth Charge: When I was on Prince Edward Island this summer I went to see Lennie Gallant at the Mackenzie Theatre and one of the highlights of the show was his song “Abegweit,” which featured chanting by Hubert Francis and recounted the Mi’kmaq legend that every night Glooscap, literally “Man [created] from only speech,” slept, dreaming, with Abegweit (now, Prince Edward Island) as his pillow. This pantoum was born of that song and my experiences on the Island this summer.
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