Monday 18 May 2020

Poetry Monday: The Place I Call Home

It's Poetry Monday, and this week's topic is ..... PLACES WE CALL HOME.

Join Diane, MotherOwl, Mimi, and me as we describe the places each of us calls home. Tell us about your home, too, if you like, by leaving  your poem in the comments or posting on your blog. If you do the latter, please leave a comment so we can find you and cheer you on.

You may use the topic or choose another. We write poetry for the challenge and for the enjoyment, and if you think that sounds like fun, give it a try.


It's been another busy week chez Donkey, and I didn't get started on my poem until the last minute.

It soon became evident that the number of things I wanted to include about my home (my province of Nova Scotia) far exceeded my ability to quickly toss them off in rhyming form, so I settled for a history lesson in the vague shape of a poem.

Actually, I think it's a geography lesson too.

Don't boo. It isn't nice, and it will hurt my wittle fee-wings.


To get us started, here is a map of Canada:

Canada is the part with all the bright colours. Nova Scotia is the dark pink province at the far right.

Zooming in on Nova Scotia, we see this:

Okay, I know it's yellow now, not pink, but trust me, it's the right province. (The green bit on the left is New Brunswick and the peach bit floating above Nova Scotia is Prince Edward Island (wave at Marie!) Mainland Nova Scotia is a peninsula, connected to the rest of Canada by a small and marshy bit of land that will not fare well under climate change's rising ocean levels, and is completed by the beautiful island of Cape Breton on the right.

I think we're ready to begin now.


We Are Also Known As Bluenosers, Because Cold Winters

My home and my heart are inextricably bound
By this land almost surrounded by water
A peninsula with an island at one end

Together, peninsula and island look like
A lady in an old-fashioned bonnet
(The bonnet is Cape Breton Island)
Don't you see it? Squint and try again

Our shores are lapped by waves
And lashed by winds
And our weather is moderated by
The Atlantic Ocean

Our First Nations peoples called it Mi'kma'ki
When France came calling, it was known as Acadia
Under the British and Scots, it became New Scotland
Because it reminded them of home

And starting in 1629
Under three years of Scottish occupation
We became Nova Scotia
The Latin version of New Scotland
Because Prince William wanted to impress King James VI and I

But how do we pronounce it?

Nova ... like the car
Or the Brazilian dance
Or the transient astronomical event

Scotia ... like ....
... well ... "Skoh-sha"
Rhymes with ...
Almost nothing
How about "know Shah"
Although in what sentence that could be used
I can't imagine

Nova Scotia is known for
Its rolling landscape of hills and valleys
Its generosity in times of trouble
By those already struggling to provide for themselves
Our coal mining history
Our coal mining disasters
And our forests and fisheries

Postcard Pictures at the link below ...
"Wish you were here"


Canada's Ocean Playground (our other, other name)

I couldn't find any free photos to use and, embarrassingly, I couldn't find one of my own that I had in mind to put here. Note to self: label photos better. But that link has pictures and virtual tours that are beautiful, more than mine could ever be.


Now, tell me something about the place you call home ...

Next week's topic will be ..... FAVOURITE SMELLS .....

Good luck :)


Elephant's Child said...

I need the geography lesson (shamefully) for which I thank you. And loved your gentle, informative rambling poem.
If home is where my heart is, my home is a garden, and, like almost everything else in my head and heart, a work in progress.

Bonnie said...

I have always been interested in Nova Scotia as a unique and what must be very cold (in the winter) country. I will also admit I have become even more interested after watching the TV show "Oak Island". That show has taught me a little more about the history of Nova Scotia and I find it fascinating!

dinthebeast said...

OK, Scotia kinda rhymes with kosher. Sorta. There is a town called Scotia 20 or so miles south of Eureka, where I grew up. It used to be a company town for the giant lumber mill there, but the mill shut down and now it's mainly a tourist town, from what I can gather online.
Their mill museum has steam donkeys on display, according to their website.
Anyway, Scotia is just across the river from Rio Dell, and just north of Stafford, where we used to practice on our race bikes.
Home, in the physical sense right now, is Sugar Pine, just south of the gate to Yosemite. Downstairs at Zsuzs' house, the upstairs of which is a geodesic dome, or some kind of dome. It's still sort of sinking in to me that I really live here, as the last decade has been chaotic where home has been concerned, but it seems to actually be a sustainable situation this time. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and paying attention to the details in the hope of making that be true.
A part of me, though, will always see the East Bay as home. I do still love the place, but it is not really affordable to someone like me any more, even with all of the decades of knowledge and personal connections I have there.
For now, that seems OK, though.
I didn't know that Scotia was Latin for Scotland, but that makes sense now that I think about it.

-Doug in Sugar Pine

Charlotte (MotherOwl) said...

Prince Edward Island is world famous due to Anne of Green Gables, but your place is exceedingly beautiful!
It seems today is a day for unorthodox rhymes ;)

River said...

The place I call home right now is a tiny one bedroom flat or unit if you prefer, certainly not an apartment, it's way too small for that. it faces north and west, so gets all the summer heat on the tiny front porch which has no protection, but that's a bonus in the winter because then it is a lovely warm spot away from the southerly winds. I have a closed in back porch, no back yard to call my own, there is a shared space out there for clotheslines and rubbish bins. Around me there are 109 other flats. Although time is slipping by I still hope one day to have a home by the beach so I can watch the ocean I love.

Anonymous said...

There you go. I thought NS was an island. Maybe it will be in the future. Generally Australian's don't know a lot about Canada, which is perhaps not a bad thing that you stay out of news. We did hear about the awful plane crash in BC, all the worse because the flyover was supposed to cheer people up.

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

First thing is that I have always liked the name, Nova Scotia. It is pleasant sounding and puts me in mind of some place peaceful and lovely. I can’t imagine it having a hustle and bustle life with gridlock everywhere. I think you are very fortunate to call it home.

I live in a rural town that is about an hour outside Philadelphia, PA. It will soon not be as rural as developers have their eye and purses on all the farmland that is up for sale. Sadly, it is a losing battle for those of us hate to see this change.

I grew up in NYC, in a three family home my grandfather built and as odd as this sounds to most, the area was very small town like with individual homes and gardens and people who cared about their neighbors. I did a Google walk through my old neighborhood, and it has not physically changed that much. I still think of it as home.

Red said...

Someday I will have to visit Nova Scotia. Both my kids have visited Nova Scotia.

37paddington said...

You make me want to visit! Lovely.

Steve Reed said...

OK, I learned several things here. I always thought Nova Scotia was an island. (Sounds like it ALMOST is.) And I thought all of the Northwest Territories became Nunavut. I didn't realize part of the NW Territories still exists under that name. And coal mining?! Who knew?

Spikes Best Mate said...

I loved all the information on Nova Scotia - so interesting to read about the history and geography of where you live. Here is my effort for this week. A bit more sober than some of my stuff.


I want to go home, the soldier said,
I am tired of guns and war
I want to see my wife and child -
The son I’ve not seen before.
I want to be rid of the cruelty I’ve seen -
Those dark images in my head
I want to put all this strife aside
I want to sleep in my own sweet bed.

I want to go home, the old man said,
I want to see my wife
It’s hard being here with the dead and the dying
So near to the end of my life.
I want to spend my last days at home
To recall the life that I’ve led
With family and friends gathered all around
As I lie once again in my own sweet bed.

I want to go home, the homeless girl said,
But I am not wanted there.
Two years on the streets, my life is a mess -
I need some space to try to repair
The damage I’ve done to this body of mine,
I want to sort out my head.
I need door and key -
A small place for me
To feel safe as I lie on my own sweet bed.

I have no home, the refugee said,
I’m a man without a place.
I’ve been taunted, tormented, battered and broken
I’ve had doors of countries shut in my face.
As my days unravel I’m destined to travel
With no place to lay my head
I’m weary and heart-sore
I can’t take much more.
May the earth soon become my own sweet bed.

Marie Smith said...

I have always lived on an island, Newfoundland and now Prince Edward. I cannot imagine life anywhere else. The land and sea are integral to life here and it’s how we like it.

jenny_o said...

I'm ashamed to admit it, EC, but everything I wrote here about our geography was from what I learned in elementary school - it seems I have not progressed beyond that at all. It was always pointed out to us how the province is shaped like a lady in a long dress and bonnet, and that's still how I see it :) Thank you for that kind description of my non-poem poem.

I am not at all surprised that you feel your home is a garden, and what a beautiful place to call home. We should all be works in progress - I think that's a sign of an open mind!

jenny_o said...

It can be cold here at times, but mostly it feels colder than it is because of the dampness. The ocean tends to keep us from severe cold, but it creates that dampness too.

I've never thought of "Oak Island" as educational! The folklore of the island is interesting, but there's a lot of conjecture on the show (it's reality TV, not a documentary) which is passed off as having more meaning than it does. I'm sure you figured that out already, though :)

jenny_o said...

Your mention of a Scotia in your home region, along with Eureka, of which we have one in our province, reminds me that there aren't many unique place names! It's always come as a shock to see so many of "our" names represented in places all over the English-speaking world. Puts me right in my place, lol

I'm so glad you feel like you have a permanent home now. But our childhood homes remain in our hearts, don't they?

jenny_o said...

You're right about PEI! and it's so beautiful too.

Now I am intrigued by your last sentence - I haven't been to your blog yet but will be there shortly :)

jenny_o said...

Oh, River, I hope your dream comes true. How lovely that would be.

I just realized from your description of your current location that (of course) we describe our winds and sun-facing directions differently, just like we do our seasons. Here, a southern exposure would heat up our houses, and northerly winds are the cold ones. I should have understood this before but never thought it through!

jenny_o said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Laurie - thank you. There are many beautiful places in Canada (and the world) and yours is another. It's good to be able to visit places all over the world through the internet, isn't it?

jenny_o said...

I expect NS will be an island in the future, as you say. The Snowbird crash was tragic. Honestly, there seem to have been so many across Canada just lately.

jenny_o said...

I do feel very lucky, and never take for granted the beauty and quiet life here. I'm sorry to hear that your current home is in the process of changing. The love of money has altered so many places and not for the better.

That's interesting and surprising to me about your childhood home being so like a small town. It's so easy to form preconceptions of places we haven't been! Isn't Google great for exploring, both familiar places and new?

jenny_o said...

I hope you get the chance, Red. I've never been to Alberta either, although I have family there.

jenny_o said...

I wish you could, 37p. I think you would like the ocean views, although the water's a lot colder than in your childhood home :)

jenny_o said...

I had to check to make sure the map of Canada was up-to-date after reading your comment! I was looking for something with colour to demarcate the Canadian border. But, yep, it's current. Just a part of the NWT was included in Nunavut.

Coal mining - yes, in many different areas of the province. My great-grandfather and my grandfather were miners. We have problems with subsidence in many areas due to mining. In fact, (cringe) our power plants still use coal. I know, right?

jenny_o said...

This is a very moving poem, and I'm so glad you've shared it here. So many truths in it. Very well done.

jenny_o said...

Two very different islands, each with its own beauty but with the ocean in common! I agree, the land and sea are very much in our consciousness here as well.

Elephant's Child said...

I am echoing jenny_o. So many sad truths here. Well done.

e said...

Thanks for the geography lesson. Good to know things are where I thought they would be. I wish I could see your home.
As for mine, I'll think on your request and perhaps do a post.

Joanne Noragon said...

Ohio only has a lake to its name. We're the south shore of Lake Erie.

messymimi said...

That was informative and well done, and as pretty as a lady in a dress and bonnet. Someday i do want to visit the land from which our Cajuns came.

River said...

Eureka is a real place? I loved a TV series called Eureka several years ago and thought someone made up the name. Of course the TV show wouldn't be based on the actual town.

baili said...

special thanks for geography lesson dear Jenny because i would have not done it by myself (shamefully)

beautifully shared through poetic aspect :) lapped by by shores and winds ,what a poignant painting indeed :)

we are nurtured with love of our homelands and it is so natural ,being from small village i know some people who had privilege to spent half of their lives in advanced foreign countries but love of their homeland grew stronger with age and they came back to live their last years in their native towns despite of all hurdles they have to face here :) i am so well familiar with power of love for place where we born and grow
place i call home is my roots :)
wishing you all the happiness peace and health my friend!
stay well !hugs!

Mary said...

Had planned to visit Nova Scotia this summer. Maybe next year.

My home is also near water. About 1/2 mile from the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Lots of wildlife. The county is surrounded by water on three sides (E,S,W) and by idiots just to the NW (sorry...couldn't help myself--talking about WDC).

jenny_o said...

Just for fun, after reading your comment, River, I googled how many places by the name of Eureka there are in the world. I didn't go beyond the first page of results, so I only found the number in the USA - which appears to be ten. I expect there are more in other countries such as Canada. I also checked out the TV series on wikipedia and it looks so good - definitely something I'd like. Except we don't have it here, or Netflix either. Boo hoo!

jenny_o said...

I wish you could see Nova Scotia, too, e. I hope you do a post. I'm not at all familiar with Florida except the shape on a map!

jenny_o said...

Being geographically challenged, I have only a vague idea of where places in the USA are located. So thank you! I remember from school that Lake Erie is pretty large :)

jenny_o said...

That was a sad event in our history, and - like you, but in reverse - I would like to see the land where our Acadians went. I suspect our province would be quite different today if they had not been forced to leave, not least in our native language.

jenny_o said...

I like your way of describing your home - your roots. That is how I feel, too. If I had to live elsewhere I think I would feel the same pull back to my homeland throughout life as your fellow villagers do, but I don't know if I would be brave enough to follow through!

Best wishes to you, too, my friend!

jenny_o said...

I do hope you get to visit next year, Mary.

Your area sounds beautiful. I've had a look at the map, following your description. You are closer to the ocean than I am - we live on a tidal river but the ocean is about a fifteen minute drive away. I bet you can smell the salt air :)

Susan said...

A few years ago we were able to visit Nova Scotia. I could happily live there. There were dozens of beautiful old houses I wish I could have purchased. We started stopping for tea in a small village cafe at the end of each day. By day three the waitress was calling the table in the window "our" table-oh I felt like I really belonged. Not that I don't love my current home in rural coastal BC, but my first breath was of Atlantic air and I think it sticks with you.

jenny_o said...

Where were you born, Susan? I'm glad you had a good visit here.

Mr. Shife said...

Loved learning more about Nova Scotia. It sounds lovely but I will definitely have to come visit during the summer. I don't think I want to have anything to do with your winters. Here's something interesting about my home state: Dog lovers should be interested in Idaho because it is home to the only dog-shaped B&B in the world. For those who want to visit the dog lover’s paradise, it is in Cottonwood, ID.

jenny_o said...

That's very cool! Dog Bark Park - lol I love that it's a beagle; we had a beagle bluetick mix girl when I was young and I loved her :)

Yes, if you're coming to NS and you don't like the cold, come in summer!

Nas said...

I loved learning about Nova Scotia. I wonder now if I will ever be able to visit there.

Martha said...

I hope to one day visit your area, along with a few other places in the east. I just know I would love it!

jenny_o said...

I hope you do!

jenny_o said...

I hope you get the chance to visit!

Diane Henders said...

I have fond memories of Nova Scotia from the year that I lived in Halifax (1988). It's a beautiful place; but even though I grew up on the prairies where -30C is commonplace in winter, I've never been so cold as I was that one winter in Halifax. The temperatures were only around -10C, but that damp chill froze my bones. Still, I loved it there!

These days I live on the west coast, about as far away from Nova Scotia as it's possible to get without actually leaving the country. It's a much softer and gentler climate here, but both coasts have their own unique beauty. I feel lucky to have lived in both places! :-)

jenny_o said...

I would love to see (and smell) the Pacific Coast, partly to see the differences! Susan has an interesting comment on the two coasts on my next post (Poetry Monday, May 25, 2020).

I've heard that the prairie and Alberta cold is easier to tolerate even though the actual temperature is lower, due to the drier air. You may have misspelled "damp" in that sentence - lol

Diane Henders said...

LOL! You're right, I do believe I did. ;-)

jenny_o said...


Chickens Consigliere said...

Hi Donkey. Your home playground is kind of close close to my home playground (Maine). We went on a family vacation to Nova Scotia once a long time ago, about 40 years ago. It was beautiful.

jenny_o said...

Maine is also a lovely spot - we had relatives there and visited when I was a kid - probably fifty years ago. You probably weren't born yet :D