William Bauchop Wilson
by W.B. Wilson
Some poetry from Memories printed in 1916. I read them all and tried to pick one to send you, but it went to four, plus the words from the Dedication and Preface. MY FATHER’S DAY DREAM takes him back to Scotland, his memories there, then of the ride to the U.S. on the ship and finally, as he opens his eyes of the hills and fields of Pennsylvania. Next is THE COAL MINER. Life as a miner was tough and he set about trying to improve it. Next isLINES ON LEAVING HOME WHEN BLACKLISTED and his love for Agnes. And last, I had to include BLUE EYES which I presume were the color of Agnes’ eyes. BUT there is a legacy here – my dad, my sister, and I and my children all have blue eyes.
— Bob Wilson (great grandson), 11/20/99, via e-mail to Dave Jones (great grandson) Poetry written by William B. Wilson
MEMORIES © 1916, W. B. Wilson
To my Father and Mother, whose hopes that their son might follow a literary career have not been realized, this little book is affectionately inscribed as a partial compensation for their disappointment.
WILLIAM BAUCHOP WILSON
I have no intention of inflicting upon the general public these few rhymes, written, principally, under the influence of youthful exuberance. It could not be expected to appreciate the circumstances under which they came into existence or overlook the defects they contain. I am looking for a more sympathetic audience. This little volume has been printed (not published) for circulation amongst those intimate friends of mine who can bury its poetical, grammatical and structural defects beneath their personal respect for the author. My friend, Sam, says: “No man ever writes poetry except when his liver is out of order.” This may be true, and, if it is, I submit this book to my friends as conclusive proof that my life has been a reasonably healthy one.
MY FATHER’S DAY DREAM
One evening last June when the day’s work was over,
I sat all alone in my cozy arm chair,
And drank the perfume of the sweet-scented clover
That floated along on the cool, balmy air.
My trusty clay pipe ‘tween my thumb and forefinger
I puffed with a lazy, luxuriant ease,
The smoke curling up for a moment to linger,
Then fade from my sight as it mixed with the breeze.
And as I sat thinking, the smoke curling o’er me,
There rose up a mirror-like vision of yore,
The land of my fathers lay plainly before me-
A beautiful picture from memory’s store.
Yes, there stood the mill, ‘neath the wide spreading rowans,
The miller’s neat cot on the brow of the hill.
I saw the broad fields dotted over with gowans
And heard once again Avon’s murmuring rill.
Bathed my hot limbs on its cool, rippling bosom,
Roved through the woodlands that rise from its side,
Plucked the bluebell and the hawthorn blossom
That flourish so full on the banks of the Clyde.
Gathered the woodbine and fragrant wild roses,
The daisy, the primrose and sweet heatherbell.
Chased the wild bee from its place on the posies
And searched for birds’ nests on the trees in the dell.
There by the road stood the one-story houses,
The thin strip of woodland just over the way
Where the robin, the sparrow and little titmouses
Were chirping their praise to the glorious day.
And far up the hill with the stone wall around it
The high park in glory looked down on the plain,
While the stately old oaks in the center resounded
With winds that to fell them blew fiercely, but vain.
I saw there the deer when the cannon’s loud rattle
Re-echoed like thunder o’er valley and hill,
Gallop off then come back, form like soldiers in battle,
Gaze wild at the cannon, excited but still,
Till another report sent them off in a hurry,
A frightened, excited, disorderly train,
Away round the hill in a terrible flurry
Then back through the same old maneuver again.
And here, too, the native white cattle came bounding
Out through the dense wood with a wild savage grace,
The forest behind them with echoes resounding
Of huntsmen and dogs that took part in the chase.
I thought of the time when the forest extended
O’er nearly the whole of old Scotia’s domain,
When cattle and deer from the mountain descended
To crop the luxuriant herbs of the plain.
When Wallace ere yet his fond hopes had been blighted
By cruel oppression’s dire death dealing sting,
In hunting the game of his country delighted,
Content in the shade of oblivion’s dark wing.
But the scene seemed to change to a ship on the ocean
Bound far to the West with its cargo and crew.
I gazed from its deck with a heartfelt emotion,
As slowly old Scotia receded from view.
And when the last trace of her outline was fading,
I stood on my tip-toe with uplifted hand
Laid over my temples, my strained vision shading,
To catch one more glance of my dear native land.
Then out from my dreaming the vision before me
Like Scotia’s sweet shore faded slowly away;
A dull, heavy feeling of sadness came o’er me,
And deep in my heart’s inmost recesses lay.
True, there stood Penn’s forest as stately as ever,
And, there, the wide meadows and tall growing grain,
And down in the valley the swift flowing river
Fast winding its way to the billowy main.
Yet though my heart loves them with loyal devotion,
My memory dwells on sweet visions of yore,
And pictures that country far over the ocean,
The land of my fathers, old Scotia’s loved shore.
The Wilson index:
• William Bauchop Wilson Main Page
• Coming to America
• Growing up in Arnot, Pennsylvania
• The Next 20 Years
• Secretary-Treasurer of the United Mine Workers of America
• Secretary of Labor
• 1921 – 1934
• The Family
• Ferniegair Farm Blossburg, Pennsylvania
• United Mine Workers Pins & Ribbons