Tributes by Gananoque's Poet Laureate

By: Gretchen Huntley

Volume 16, Issue 10, October 2021

Editor's Note: In March 2021, Gananoque appointed its first Poet Laureate, Gretchen Huntley. When the Gananoque Reporter announced the appointment, Gananoque residents agreed that in these troubled times, the arts are more important than ever. The article describing how and why Gretchen was appointed is delightful. It concludes with Town Councilor Dennis O'Connor saying "The arts attract tourists who travel for cultural activities. We have in our town all the ingredients necessary to become a cultural hub. Along with all our natural beauty and the plethora of outdoor physical activities, culture cannot be ignored. The Arts are an important industry, and they improve the well-being of its citizenry. I believe that the appointment of our Poet Laureate may signal new respect for all the arts in our community.”

Here are three poems Gretchen has written and all three have been well received. In fact, the Fire Chief printed copies for all the Gananoque Volunteer Fire Fighters.

The Gananoque Fire Department

We are so very fortunate
Here in our little Town
We have a group of people,
Who truly are renowned
We take them so for granted
And yet they’re a crucial part
Of what keeps us safe and secure
As they give every day with their heart

We see smoke and we panic
Fire makes us freeze with fear
We dial 911 and in minutes
These people readily appear
We don’t know where they come from
Most times we really don’t care
We just want to know when we need them
They will always be there

They put their lives on the line
Every time they answer a call
And what many of us don’t realize
They don’t stop there at all
These men and women are volunteers
They have other jobs and other careers
But they drop everything when we are in need
These volunteers are a very rare breed

Twenty two people
With different personalities
But when they are together
They become one you see
They care, they share
They help, they’re there
They all have one thing in mind
To help us in a crisis
They are truly one of a kind

If you need resuscitation
They are quickly at your side
But don’t count out the little things
They’ll put a Band-Aid on with pride
Our volunteers are at the forefront
They even learned to dance
Performing Jerusalema
In their boots and baggy pants

I listened to Chief Howard today
His voice was filled with pride
As he spoke about the comradery
His feelings he did not hide
What an honour and a privilege
He said to have become a part
Of the Gananoque Fire Department
And a Town that’s filled with heart

People are so friendly
It’s a great community
And our surroundings are so beautiful
He said, “We are lucky as can be”

As for me I’d like to add
My personal thank you
To the Gananoque Fire Department
And everything they do
They give of themselves
Each and every day
And on behalf of our town
I would like to say

A simple thank you
From one and all
To our Fire Department
Night and Day; they’re on call

By Gretchen Huntley
Poet Laureate, Town of Gananoque

Gananoque’s  Flower Girls

Fall is just around the corner
The flowers will slowly start to fade
But for the summer months
Oh the landscape that’s been made

By two wonderful ladies
I call them the “Flower girls”
They have created beauty
And set our town in a whirl

Everywhere you look
There are flowers beyond compare
Some in containers on the ground
Others on posts in the air

The colours are so vibrant
They bloom and come alive
And thanks to our “Flower Girls”
They continue to survive

These flowers that surrounds us
Have been placed with loving care
By Sharon Hancock and Nancy Lekx
Who have worked their magic there

I would like to use this rhyme
To say a big “Thank You”
To Gananoque’s Flower Girls
And everything they do!

By Gretchen Huntley
Poet Laureate, Town of Gananoque

The Berm

I went down to The Berm
The other morning
It wasn’t planned
There was no warning
But what I saw
Was beyond compare
The sun was quietly
Rising there

It touched the water
And spread like joy
Like a small child
With its favourite toy
My daughter and I
Walked along quietly
I’d never done this
Before you see

I was missing this amazing
Beautiful gift
Sunrise at our waterfront
Oh what a lift
I stepped behind the sign
That was along the way
And smiled for a photo
Before I started my day

I realized in that moment
I needed to share
What I had been missing
Just waiting there
It’s right there before us
But we don’t see it at all
It’s like there’s no leaves
On the trees in the fall

So my friends
I invite you to
Get up one morning
And enjoy the view
Take a deep breath
Feel the wind on your face
Be thankful we live
In such a wonderful place

Gretchen Huntley, Poet Laureate - Town of Gananoque

Gretchen Huntley was appointed Poet Laureate for the Town of Gananoque in March 2021. TI Life reviewed two small books Gretchen recently published. "Reality and Me" by editor, Susan Smith in November, 2020 and "Poetry Through a Lens" by John Swift in June 2021. Both books featured photography by Sam Battams

Posted in: Volume 16, Issue 10, October 2021, Poetry

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