08 January 2008

A Song Of Winter Weather

It isn't the foe that we fear;
It isn't the bullets that whine;
It isn't the business career
Of a shell, or the bust of a mine;
It isn't the snipers who seek
To nip our young hopes in the bud:
No, it isn't the guns,
And it isn't the Huns --
It's the MUD,

Anyone with an ounce more poetry in their soul than I do could compose a parody of Robert W Service's verse, A Song of Winter Weather, to describe what we've been through in Eastern Canada this winter; Mud, Mud, Mud replaced by Snow, Snow, Snow. Now its Slush, Slush, Slush and Fog, Fog, Fog.

Robert W Service (1874 - 1958) is another example of a Brit who contributed to Canada's heritage. Born in Preston, Lancs., educated in Scotland and best known for his verse about the Yukon, notably "The Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee."

A Song of Winter Weather is found in Rhymes of a Red Cross Man composed during WW1 and dedicated to Robert W's little known brother, Albert Niven Parker Service. Albert was the youngest son of the large family of Robert and Sarah (Parker) Service who travelled on the Victorian in March 1905, many years after Robert W left the UK, bound for Halifax and St John enroute to Toronto. Albert and other family members received land grants in Alberta and he took up work with the Bank of Nova Scotia in Edmonton, before joining the 52nd Bn. of the CEF. He died on 18 August 1916 when hit by a shell while serving as a Lieutenant.

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