Merasheen Isle Farewell (Ernie Wilson)

See also: The Rocks Of Merasheen (Ryan's Fancy)

Attention, all good friends of mine,
and listen to my tale,
Relating to an island down in Placentia Bay;
It was my home of childhood times,
where memories still do stray,
The lovely Isle of Merasheen down in Placentia Bay.

The people made their living,
on the land and the sea,
They all helped one another, that was their policy;
With their little gardens by their houses,
and their boats moored to the pier,
And a sing-song in the evening, around a keg of beer.

Sometime in December, they turned out all the lights,
And locked the doors on the happy homes,
that they worked for all their lives;
It will break your heart to see them walk
to their boat to go away,
As they bid farewell to Merasheen,
down in Placentia Bay.

No more they'll watch the caplin,
as they wash upon the sand,
The little fish they used for bait
and to fertilize the land;
No more they'll see their gardens grow,
or their meadows full of hay,
Or walk the road in their working clothes
in their good old-fashioned way.

The houses now are all closed up,
their windows no more will rise,
Their doors will never open again,
to welcome you inside;
Nor will you hear the sounds of laughter,
or the songs they used to sing,
Those days are gone forever,
and so is Merasheen.

I hope you're settled down by now,
in your homes across the way,
Although we're separated,
but will meet again some day;
And from all of us who live far away,
and from their children,
We thank you for the happy homes
we had in Merasheen.

####.... Ernie Wilson (see notes below) ....####
A variant was collected by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best in 1975 from Mrs Harold (Bride) Rose [1917-?] of Red Island, Merasheen and Freshwater, NL, and published as #65, The Leaving Of Merasheen, in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.114-115, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that this song was written by Mr Ernie Wilson while he was living in Nova Scotia in the late 1960s. Like The Blow Below The Belt, it concerns the Resettlement Program of the sixties which moved families from the small communities and islands in the bays to larger centres where it was supposed they would fare better; however, this was not always the case and the effect on people was often emotionally devastating.

See more songs by Lehr and Best.

An alternate source informed GEST that the author of this song was Joey Connors of South East Bight, NL, but this has not yet been substantiated.

From the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English:
Caplin - small, iridescent deep-water fish (Mallotus villosus) like a smelt which, followed by the cod, appears inshore during June and July to spawn along the beaches, and is netted for bait, for manuring the fields, or dried, salted, smoked, or frozen for eating.


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