2. John Dennison

Mark Despault, 1980

Take me back to Letterkenny, Combermere, and Barry's Bay.
I will walk through fields of clover and the scent of fresh mown hay.
With horse and plough I'll till my soil and ne'er rest 'til end of day.
I'll find a wife to share my life. To the woods no more I'll stray.

From the shores of Madawaska in the year of 78,
We paddled north by river up to Opeongo Lake.
T'was my father and my grandfather and I my fathers son.
We lived by plough and trap line 'til the year of 81.

We set out one fine spring morning in the year of 81.
There was my old grandfather and I, his fine grandson.
To check our traps for fox and mink and to carry home our prize,
To north arm we did paddle to where we'd set our lines.

We set shore at Green Lake Portage and grandfather led the way,
To a trap we'd set a week before it was the last one for the day.
As we neared the site, there was no sound.  There was no cause to fear,
But Grandfather motioned stay back son and cautiously drew near.

Then a deathly roar crashed through the air, a beast then did arise.
And angered by a bloody wound to us, it turned it's eyes.
As Grandfather turned to face the foe he ordered me away.
"Go my son be on your way or death you'll know this day."

When I returned to Green Lake portage with my father that same night,
Both bear and man lay cold and still, for no-one had won the fight.
We took grandfather back with us with tears in both our eyes,
And laid him to his final rest . It's there that he still lies.

So head ye bold young fellows if north you plan to stray
Towards the Opeongo or the shores of Annie's Bay.
There's a lone grave on the hillside where John Dennison does sleep;
A deathly warning to all men. "Beware the forest deep."


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