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Marion Family Trees in Song (20) RE: Family Trees in Song 30 Aug 08


Here's one I wrote about my grandmother's family life and emigration to Canada. It's based on the memoirs of her daughter, my aunt Grace (Jack in verse 3 was my father). One of the lines that stood out to me in these memoirs was:

"She told me years later never to say I would not do something because she said you never know what is before you and what you may be called to do."

Daughter, You Must Never Say   - Marion Parsons, 2003

Your grandpa, when he was around, he did the best he could
Drank up many a job and home until he left for good
Your grandma sewed and kept her store and worked for every dime
Anxious for the six of us, and old before her time.
I helped to raise the little ones until I was fourteen
Then off to London I did go to cook and serve and clean
I wrote my mother every week and sent her most my pay
I'll tell you, Grace, what she told me the day I went away:

Daughter, you must never say what you will not do
You cannot know what bitter things the Lord may ask of you.
The years unborn, the rose and thorn, are hidden in God's hand
The dreams you chase, the love you waste, are swept away like sand.

My first love was a vicar, for a time I wore his ring
But soon enough I was to learn the changes time will bring
The next was Walter Parsons, working on the railroad
I married him all on the quick before my belly showed.
And when men came from Canada to sign up engineers
Your father turned his vision west and brushed aside my fears
Took you and Lil and Doddy from the home I gave you birth
And left your sister Olive in the hallowed Bristol earth.

Daughter, you must never say where you will not go
You might not sleep where you awoke, or harvest what you sow
The years unborn, the rose and thorn, are hidden in God's hand
The dreams you chase, the love you waste, are swept away like sand.

The winters and the highways were far longer than I dreamed
And working on the Grand Trunk wasn't all that it had seemed
He fed the engine fire on his breath and blood and arm
At last he had to give it up, and turned his hand to farm.
With Jack and Ena babies yet, we hoped for a new start
But that first cropping season took the last strength of his heart
I know that you remember, Grace, that dry September day
I sent you children to the barn and watched him where he lay.

Daughter, you must never say what you cannot bear
The good Lord counts your every tear, and each lock of your hair
The years unborn, the rose and thorn, are hidden in God's hand
The dreams you chase, the love you waste, are swept away like sand.

The Belleville ladies told me that I must do what I can
"Put those children in a home, and find another man."
My sister too was widowed by the bloody fields of France
She brought her child to join us and to find another chance.
The lawyers and the merchants would not hear a mother's woes
We were living on Welsh Rabbit, and salvaging old clothes
I took in travelling preachers and I rented out the soil
And I held this house together with my daily prayers and toil.

Daughter, you must never say what you will not do
You cannot know what bitter things the Lord may ask of you
The years unborn, the rose and thorn, are hidden in God's hand
The dreams you chase, the love you waste, are swept away like sand.

(I'm working on getting a website with some MP3s together - if anyone's interested, you will be able to hear this song online in about a month).

Marion


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