Po­ets of the 1940s and ’50s

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION -

in Har­bour Grace.” One of h i s po­ems appe a r s in “Po­ems of New­found­land.”

He writes elo­quently about the time “ be­fore the dawn dis­closed a ruddy sun, / This is­land mould was set, I like to think.” Of course, his ref­er­ence point is New­found­land: “ here in its sum­mer fields I learned to play, / To linger late and love the twi­light calm, / Where time is not the mea­sure of a day. / This is the land where strangers of­ten find, / Who ven­ture near, re­turn­ing peace of mind.”

Joan Marie Flynn, de­scen­dant of the fa­mous eigh­teenth-cen­tury mag­is­trate Gar­land, was born in Har­bour Grace, on July 1, 1903. She was ed­u­cated at Pre­sen­ta­tion Con­vent and worked as stenog­ra­pher with Ge­orge Knowl­ing Ltd., St. John’s. By 1953, she was mar­ried with three sons and resided in the cap­i­tal city.

In her poem, Wa­ter­front Noc­turne, she writes: “Gray swells the sea be­neath a brood­ing mist / That sends blue fin­gers out to coil and twist / And fade within the lamp­light’s yel­low ring; / The heavy tides against the low piers fling.”

Edith Mitchell was born in Fresh­wa­ter, Car­bon­ear. She was ed­u­cated at her home­town and Prince of Wales Col­lege, Me­mo­rial Univer­sity Col­lege, St. John’s. She taught school in New­found­land and Eng­land, and trav­elled widely in Europe and Amer­ica. In 1953, she was de­scribed as a house­wife with one son. She was also “ac­tive in com­mu­nity life. At­tributes fond­ness for po­etry to a blind grand­mother who came to babysit or ‘ mind-the-house’ and used to re­cite to chil­dren from mem­ory.” Two of Mitchell’s po­ems ap­pear in the book.

“ To John Stir­ling Fin­ish­ing Kinder­garten” won first prize. “ Good-bye, Son,” I said / “ Be good, / Have fun in school!” / And stooped to give my ac­cus­tomed / Send-off kiss. / His lit­tle friend, Wait­ing there in the porch / Smirked, and looked half-con­fused. / John will be teased for this / When next they have a fall­ing out.

Mitchell’s sec­ond poem is a re­flec­tion on “ The Jewel Shop”: Sadly I put the trays away: / I would not throw the trea­sures of my life and love / So flip­pantly aside: too of­ten I have “cast my pearls,” I thought: / I’ll hold them close, se­curely locked within the strong­box / Of my mind and heart.

There are other po­ets fea­tured in this col­lec­tion. Cupids na­tive Isaac Newell (1917-77) dis­tin­guished him­self as the National Con­ven- tion del­e­gate in White Bay 1946-48. I. A. Richards was born at Bare­need April 14, 1907. He was a teacher, jour­nal­ist and civil ser­vant. His hob­bies were read­ing, fish­ing and writ­ing po­etry.

Ber­tille Tobin (1888-1966) was born at Har­bour Grace. He taught for many years un­til giv­ing up be­cause of ill health. His hobby was writ­ing po­etry. In 1951, he pub­lished the book, “Au­tumn in King’s Cove and Other Po­ems.”

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