Sometimes I have to wonder if there is something wrong with me because of a) the amount of enjoyment I got from reading these poems and b) the cravings I had for pea soup while reading them. I even revisited my childhood favourite Habitant Pea Soup recently due to these poems – only to discover that it now gives me heartburn (pretty sure it was the lard which was why I had been avoiding it for so long).
However, these poems will not give one heartburn. Sure they might not be right for everyone and maybe it was because I had thought Drummond was a Confederation Poet before I read the introduction so I was pleasantly surprised by his funny, make-you-want-to-read-it-out-loud verses. And read it out loud I did – much to my husbands and daughters dismay. These poems were often recited at church dinners, country dances and family gatherings during a time when reading out loud and reciting poetry was what people did. While some think he might have been making fun of the dialect (certainly not his own, he was a doctor after all) of the Habitants around him – what he was really doing was passing on the stories he heard and celebrating what was, to him, a rich and fascinating culture.
An example from my personal favourite: Leetle Bateese!:
You bad leetle boy, not moche you care
How busy you ‘re kipin’ your poor gran’pere
Tryin’ to stop you ev’ry day
Chasin’ de hen aroun’ de hay–
W’y don’t you geev’ dem a chance to lay?
To read the whole poem click here. Or better yet, pick up a copy for yourself because where else are you going to read a poem about a talking canoe? You can recite it to yourself while making your own pea soup (I have a good recipe that I made the other night if anyone is interested – heartburn free!)
Death Toll: Can’t recall so it must have been insignificant.