His head is bowed, his brow once smooth is furrowed.
His hair is slate and silvered with the years.
Time rips away each vestige man strives to keep,
Then flings it back, bedimmed and streaked with tears.

His eyes are blue, yet once I saw there mirrored;
Young, radiant hope, each gaze a new caress.
Time strips the magic veil to naked starkness
Till there is naught to see but nothingness.

His step is slow; his tread is short and halting-,
Once firm and quick and eager to be gone.
Time peters thin the stretch of the elastic
As weariness rejects the strength of dawn.

His hands are hard and calloused where was firmness.
The hammer, saw, all tools have taken their toll.
Time marks the way and steals the tremulous heart beat,
The hand that reached to wake my sleeping soul.

Time! Time! You have the vantage in your favour,
To age the hair, the eyes, the hands, the feet-,
To steal from youth the hope of new tomorrows-,
To turn to dust the golden, paved street.

Though you have aged his outward mortal being
Our love has stripped you of your power, O Time!
Eyes grown dim, silver hair is but a symbol;
For together we have made old age sublime.

– 1965

Posted in On Love, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

To Ernest

Each breathe of wind that lingers
around my window pane,
Brings me thoughts of one I love.
and draws us close again.
When the sunset rays are falling,
when the dusk is waiting still,
I watch each creeping shadow
slowly mask the distant hill.
I love him more than life itself,
just why, I do not know;
I guess because ’twas meant I should.
God must have planned it so.
Just let me do for him, each hour,
each minute of the day;
Some little task to cast a flood
of sunshine o’er his way.
O let me share his heart aches,
whatever they may be;
Just let me love him as I would;
he means so much to me.

– 1929 (Signed as Betty Lee)

Posted in On Love | Leave a comment

Reflections from My Life in the North Country

I was born in Montreal over 70 years ago in a little bungalow nestled between two, three story tenement houses on Chateaubriand Street. When I was six weeks old my parents moved to northern Ontario and it is a recollection from those years in the north country that I will reflect upon in this note. The silver mining boom was in full blast in Cobalt and North Cobalt where I grew up, although I remember our community as being mostly residential. It was divided into two parts by what I believe was the Canadian and Northern Ontario Railway. As for history, in the early 1900’s a group of immigrants from Sweden settled on one side of the tracks and it was here that my father and mother rented a large house. For the most part, the settlement seemed to be one large family of Petersons, Jacobsons, Westburgs, Bybergs, Graces – along with a few of us whose parentage was English and French thrown in for good measure.

I have many memories of life in Swedetown, as it was known. Here is one that immediately comes to mind. Mrs. Short, a neighbor, had a brood hen which sat on a nest of eggs that didn’t hatch. She told her son, Harry, to take the eggs and bury them. Instead, he brought them to the railway tracks where a group of youngsters had gathered – among them, yours truly. I was a tomboy and would rather climb a tree, play ball with the boys and engage in other fun behavior than sit at home playing with dolls. The railway ran along a top of a small incline with the road from Haileybury to Cobalt on the far side. Always ready for fun, each one of us took a rotten egg in hand and let it fly at the first car coming along the road below. We scored a couple of direct hits. As the car stopped, the doors opened and, to our dismay, outstepped two, blue-clad policemen. Needless to say, we scattered in all directions – some to our homes to hide under beds; others to seek refuge among the woods. A couple of the boys hid inside the old, deserted, ramshackle, grey shepherd house not far from the tracks. Two of the kids, whom we called “Goody Goodies” told the police where to look. While most of us escaped punishment, the boys who were found hiding in the shepherd house received a severe dressing down. Oh my!

I remember too, the forest fires which forever menaced our lives. Every summer, resident adults and children would labour together building huge barricades made of tree limbs and whatever materials were available; also, ditches would be dug to help in case a fire became close. Many a night we waited fearfully, watching reflections of flames from a forest fire as it spread, coming closer to us with each gust of wind. Dry weather was a strong factor and a forest fire could be started from sunlight reflecting a certain way though a broken bottle. Likewise, a carelessly discarded match or cigarette could cause much destruction. On one occasion a fire was started by a barrel of inflammable liquid which was on the railway station platform at the top of a hill in Haileybury. The barrel was accidently knocked over and began rolling down the hill. It caught fire and caused much damage. Then, there was the great fire in October of 1922 which caused death to more than forty people. A fire or fires had been burning north of Haileybury for some days and strong winds caused flames to spread throughout much of the 18 townships in the north country. These fires burned out of control between the towns of Englehart and Cobalt and caused massive destruction. Haileybury was burned to the ground other than for a few buildings on the lake shore which were spared. I recall an oddity. In those days we cut a tree limb. stripped it and used the forked end as a pole to hold a line of clothes. The home of a friend, Isabel Duggan, was located in the bush and was completely destroyed. Strangely, the clothesline pole resting against the house as well as a ladder, was untouched.

Well, my reminiscing for today must end. Perhaps another time the spirit will move me to write more of my recollection from the north country.


Posted in Early Years | Leave a comment

A Little White Cot in the Corner

white-cot-three-quarter-toddler-bed_1Little Betty and MomThere’s a little white cot in the corner;
It’s been empty for many a night.
I can’t bear it up to the attic,
Tho’ the lifting be simple and light.
‘Twould be taking away my one treasure,
For my own little babe lay her head
On the feather down pillow and smiled at me,
As I kissed her and tucked her in bed.

Still I know that some night my dear baby
Will come back to her own little bed,
Just to cuddle beneath the covers;
On the pillow to rest her wee head.
So the little white cot in the corner
Will be watching and waiting each night,
Till I hear a small voice whisper “Mama”;
Till I kiss her and tuck her in tight.

There’s a little wee cot in the corner,
Just a tiny white cot all alone;
But a longing heart’s there, as I kneel
down in prayer,
For I know that one night I’ll hear
footsteps light
As my baby comes back to her own.

– 1933

Posted in Betty Lee ( who died at 22 months) | Leave a comment

When Maples Run

I love to lie beneath the arch
Of overhanging boughs;
I love to hear the swaying bells
Of homeward turning cows.
But oh, I love, when spring is here,
When skies are blue, and streams are clear,
To see the trickling sap appear
When maples run.

I love to roam in solitude
Along the woodland ways;
I love to see the roses blush
In early June-time days;
But, oh, I love to walk at will
When spring-time winds are never still;
When sap is flowing like a rill,
When maples run.

I love to see the water-falls
Within the mountain pass;
I love to hear the gurgling stream
Flow o’er the pebbled grass.
But best of all I love to see
The sap so clear, so fresh, and free
Drip from the gnarled old maple tree,
When maples run.

– 1928

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


In a quaint, old southern garden, on a sunny kind of day,
There bloomed a tiny blossom, or so the folks do say;
Its little heart was golden; its petals fairest blue;
It took them back along the trail to other days and you.
And just because t’was memory within that wayside plot,
They named that tiny little bloom, a blue forget-me-not.

– 1929

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment


There are paths where the dancing feet are pricked
By many a stinging thorn;
But the roses bloom and the sunlight streams
Where heart-aches oft are born.
For the paths we tread are moment filled
With the stirring pulse of life;
And the only way is to carry on
And conquer the battle strife.

There is sunshine drifting upon the paths
Darkened with clouds that are grey;
There are breezes that wing with a cooling breath
Upon every living way.
For clouds may come, but the clouds will go,
And heart-aches one day will cease;
For the joys of life have their bitter dregs,
But the end of the cup is peace.

– 1929

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You Cannot Realize…

You cannot realize how I feel about that little stone
To mark the resting place of one whose life was all my own.
Perhaps years may bring you scalding tears,
Perhaps even goading pain;
They may recall the vision small
Of a little stone again.
Then you may realize what it means to place a memory stone
Upon the plot beneath which lies, a loved one of your own.

– 1933

Posted in Betty Lee ( who died at 22 months) | Leave a comment

Face to Face (a hymn)

I have found fuller measure in the gospel of my Lord.
I have found a new existence in my faith.
I have found a greater treasure in the teaching of His word;
And some day I know I’ll meet Him face to face.
Face to face…Face to Face
And some day I know I’ll meet Him face to face.

There is joy and exultation in the path the Saviour trod;
There is food and drink a’plenty for the soul.
There’s a rapture in my being and a joy within my heart
For the blood of Christ, my Lord, has made me whole.
For the blood…For the blood
Of Christ, My Lord, has made me whole.

I will praise Him to the heavens, I will glorify His name,
Blessed gospel in these latter days restored.
Faith, repentance and baptism are the pass-keys that will lead
To a life of joy eternal with the Lord.
With the Lord…With the Lord
To a life of joy eternal with the Lord.

Come the day the trump is sounded and the gates are opened wide-,
And the book of Life is there for all to see;
Oh what a joy will fill my heart when I see my risen Lord
And my loved ones waiting in that galaxy!
And my loved ones waiting in that galaxy!

– Circa 1959

Posted in Songs | Leave a comment

A Rose for Mother

What is the worth of a mother’s love?
Much more than a child can tell.
What is its strength or its fierce, deep pride?
It can vanquish fires of hell.
What is its depth? It is deep as night;
Sure as the coming of day.
It scatters blossoms of love and light
To banish my fears away.
What can I give to this mother mine
Whose worth and whose love I bear?
Give her a rose, fresh and full of life
To show her you really care.

– Circa 1927

Posted in Family | Leave a comment