Dear Boy—Thomas Kidd’s letter-poem to Joseph

Richmond pioneer Thomas Kidd (1846–1930) wrote this poem as a letter to his son,  evidently from the provincial capital, Victoria, during the 1894–1902 period when Thomas was a member of the provincial legislature (MLA, in today’s terms).

Thomas Kidd of Richmond, BC, 1846-1930Dear Boy, ‘twas because the wicked wind blew
I did not get home to see Mother and you.
Last Thursday it blew with such terrible force
It woke up the earthquake to join in its course;
And ‘twas hard, here at times, to exactly say
Whether earthquake or wind was the power at play.
As if in ague, the whole city quivered,
The lighter things danced, and the heavy ones shivered.
The houses all shook from rooftop to ground,
And Eolian harps were the wires all round,
And the acts of the wind, like the acts that we pass,
Left things rather mixed for the assessor to class,
For moveable now are some things that were fixed,
So the real and personal are considerably mixed.
Hats flew and hair too—wigs of course I should say
Like Gilpin’s went off on a frolic that day.
Old Boreas for shame! to extend this to ladies
And why did you try to run off with some babies!
Such was Thursday’s storm—for sorrow or laughter,
And I thought such a wind would bring a calm after.
But alas, it did not, for when Friday night came,
Old Boreas came back and played his old game.
I sat up quite anxious until it was late
In hopes that towards midnight the wind would abate;
But the longer I sat the harder it blew
And kept me from going to the others and you.
But next Friday night I surely will go,
Being well, my dear boy, if the wind does not blow.

Along with Joseph, “the others” of the surviving children of Thomas and Letitia Kidd were Agnes, Margaret and Gertrude (“Gertie”). Another son and daughter died in infancy. Years after Thomas wrote this letter-poem, Joseph drowned as a young man.


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