Ole Tam On Bord-A-Plouffe

A poem by William Henry Drummond

I lak on summer ev'ning, w'en nice cool win' is blowin'
An' up above ma head, I hear de pigeon on de roof,
To bring ma chair an' sit dere, an' watch de current flowin'
Of ole Riviere des Prairies as she pass de Bord-a Plouffe.

But it seem dead place for sure now, on shore down by de lan'in',
No more de voyageurs is sing lak dey was sing alway,
De tree dey're commence growin' w'ere shaintee once is stan'in',
An' no one scare de swallow w'en she fly across de bay.

I don't lak see de reever she's never doin' not'in'
But passin' empty ev'ry day on Bout de l'ile below,
Ma ole shaloup dat's lyin' wit' all its timber rottin'
An' tam so change on Bord-a Plouffe since forty year ago!

De ice dat freeze on winter, might jus' as well be stay dere,
For w'en de spring she's comin' de only t'ing I see
Is two, t'ree piqnique feller, hees girl was row away dere,
Don't got no use for water now, on Riviere des Prairies.

'Twas diff'rent on dem summer you couldn't see de reever,
Wit' saw-log an' squar' timber raf', mos' all de season t'roo,
Two honder man an' more too, all busy lak de beaver,
An' me! I'm wan de pilot for ronne 'em down de "Soo."

Don't 'member lak I use to, for now I'm gettin' ole, me,
But still I can't forget Bill Wade, an' Guillaume Lagassé,
Joe Monferrand, Bazile Montour, wit' plaintee I can't tole, me,
An' king of all de Bord-a Plouffe, M'sieu' Venance Lemay.

Lak small boy on hees lesson, I learn de way to han'le
Mos' beeges' raf' is never float upon de Ottawaw,
Ma fader show me dat too, for well he know de channel,
From Dutchman Rapide up above to Bout de l'ile en bas.

He's smart man too, ma fader, only t'ing he got de bow-leg,
Ridin' log w'en leetle feller, mebbe dat's de reason w'y,
All de sam', if he's in hurry, den Bagosh! he's got heem no leg
But wing an' fedder lak oiseau, was fly upon de sky!

O dat was tam we're happy, an' man dey're alway singin',
For if it's hard work on de raf', w'y dere's your monee sure!
An' ev'ry summer evenin', ole Bord-a Plouffe she's ringin'
Wit' "En Roulant ma Boulé" an' "J'aimerai toujour."

Dere dey're comin' on de wagon! fine young feller ev'ry wan too,
Dress im up de ole tam fashion, dat I lak for see encore,
Yellin' hooraw! t'roo de village, all de horse upon de ronne too,
Ah poor Bord-a Plouffe! she never have dem tam again no more!

Very offen w'en I'm sleepin', I was feel as if I'm goin'
Down de ole Riviere des Prairies on de raf' de sam as den,
An' ma dream is only lef' me, w'en de rooster commence crowin'
But it can't do me no harm, 'cos it mak me young again.

An' upon de morning early, wen de reever fog is clearin'
An' sun is makin' up hees min' for drive away de dew,
W'en young bird want hees breakfas', I wak' an' t'ink I'm hearin'
Somebody shout "Hooraw, Bateese, de raf' she's wait for you."

Dat's voice of Guillaume Lagassé was call me on de morning
Jus' outside on de winder w'ere you look across de bay,
But he's drown upon de Longue "Soo," wit' never word of warning
An' green grass cover over poor Guillaume Lagassé.
I s'pose dat's meanin' somet'ing, mebbe I'm not long for stay here,
Seein' all dem strange t'ing happen, dead frien' comin' roun' me so,
But I'm sure I die more happy, if I got jus' wan more day here,
Lak we have upon de ole tam Bord-a Plouffe of long ago!

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