Tight ties

The Glengarry News - - News - BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON News Staff

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.

John Morris

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