We sing of wars we have not fought
And speak of lands we seldom see.
We live with freedoms dearly bought
By legends in our family tree.
So writes John Morris in Glengarry Song, one of several poems in his new self-published book, Loose Hay: Poems of Glengarry. Although the 61year-old retired NavCan Director of Communications has called Ottawa home since 1980, his heart has long belonged to Glengarry. He grew up in North Glengarry, attended Glengarry District High School – where he met his future wife, Peggy Acheson – and has a supporting voice in the Morris Family Singing Group.
Now, Mr. Morris is preparing to launch his book at the Georgian House in Alexandria April 28 at 1:30. The launch will include a mini-concert from his family’s choir.
The book is divided into three sections. The first, Free Spirits: A Farm Boy’s Life, was inspired by his memories of the early 1960s. The second, Rocks of Kenyon, deals with family history – both in Glengarry and the family’s ancestral home on the Isle of Eigg in Scotland. The final section, The Garden of Love and Loss, is inspired by his post-Glengarry life in Ottawa.
The title of the book, Loose Hay, serves as memory and metaphor. He says that when he was a boy, before balers came around, hay had to be harvested in loose form. He adds that loose hay is an apt description for each of his poems. “Each is symbolic of a strand of loose hay.”
This is not his first foray into publishing. He helped his mother, the late Gwen Morris, publish her memoirs, Gwen: Memories and Sketches, in 2014.
Of his mother, he says she was a big fan of the romantic poets. As such, he included a few rhyming poems in his books.
“She would have been displeased if I didn’t,” he says.
Mr. Morris says that he’s been writing throughout his working life, though a lull came over his creative output while he was raising his three children. Now, in retirement, he has found the opportunity to share his poems with the world.