“In 2019, I’d like . . . .[7]

Source: the author.

In  2019, I would like to hear a publisher say: “YES, WE WILL PUBLISH THIS.

Since January, 2018 I have been writing the story of a friendship with someone who was my mentor, Wallace Havelock Robb.

At 16, I read about him in the weekend section of the Toronto Star (Oct.1, 1960) and immediately felt drawn to his life. I wrote two poems in his honour, mailed off the letter to Kingston, and three days later, received his answer that a copy of his latest book, Tecumtha, was on its way to me and: “You will find this book more difficult to read than Eaton’s catalogue, but perservere….”

I have made 24 trips to the Queen’s University Archives, learning about his spirituality, his friendships and the way he succeeded in life as a poet and naturalist. His property Abbey Dawn just east of Kingston, was the place where he erected a museum of native artifacts, held poetry festivals, and raised his family on the farm.

He was a man of integrity and deep spirituality, with a respect for all faiths and God’s creation. His epic legends about First Nations people provide insight into a way of life that has not been celebrated enough in our country.

The Toronto Star named him “The Abbe of Abbey Dawn”. He died in 1976 and I deeply mourned his passing because he was the person who had shown me how to follow my own path, and listen to my spirit. Parents love you differently; afraid when you take risks and walk away from the crowd. Wallace Havelock Robb encouraged me to pursue my dreams until they came true.

How grateful I am to have known him and hope others will enjoy reading about this remarkable Canadian who rang his poet’s bell each morning and lived the words inscribed upon it: “I give my soul to the Silent Dawn, and it goes where the song of the birds has gone.”

Joan Levy Earle is an author and artist living in Cornwall, Ontario. She is the former Associate Editor of the Canadian Messenger of the Sacred Heart magazine.

  • darcy Mann
    Posted at 07:53h, 26 January Reply

    Joan, I,m always happy to see an article written by you. I know they truly come from your big heart. Wishing you the best of luck on getting your latest book published.

  • Peter Bisson, SJ
    Posted at 14:34h, 26 January Reply

    Thank you Joan!

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