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> Poetry Of Sam Mckay, my Father
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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 29-Aug-2004, 11:52 AM
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First, I'd like to post a short biography of my Dad, then I'll post some poems from his book Harbinger.

Biography of Samuel LeRoy McKay

Sam was born 15 October 1913 in Mallard Creek, North Carolina. His father, Elmer Ranson McKay, was a farmer. His mother, Mary Arlena Benfield McKay, died of tuberculosis when Sam was two years old. He then went to live with his Benfield grandparents. Grandpa, Daniel Ferguson Benfield, was a Confederate Army veteran. Grandma, Hannah Angeline Robinson Benfield, knew, according to Sam, how to cook cornbread two ways - raw and burnt.

The childhood years Sam spent with his grandparents provided the grist for many of his stories, but not all are chronicled here. Robert Burns plowed up a mouse?s nest and memorialized it; Sam plowed up a hornets? nest and did NOT memorialize it (perhaps he didn?t feel the same sympathy for the hornets that Burns did for the mouse.) Growing up on a cotton farm wasn?t an easy life, but Sam had many happy memories of it. In his early teens, Sam?s grandparents became too ill to care for him and he was passed between several relatives.

Sam attended Erskine College, majoring in both English and philosophy. He graduated cum laude and entered Erskine Theological Seminary, graduating cum laude in 1939. After graduation, Sam married Martha Elizabeth Caldwell. He taught high school in South Carolina until receiving the call to his first church. Over the course of the next half century he served Presbyterian churches in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and North Carolina.

Sam?s interests spread far beyond the ministry. He had a lifelong interest in science. He often said that the Bible is not a science text and that science does not study religion, but that each new scientific discovery served to further prove the grandeur and majesty of the Lord.

A serious hobby was photography. His pictures have been used for many years to illustrate the yearly publication of the North Carolina Poetry Society, Award-Winning Poems. His slides of Scotland, and Mackay Country in particular, were used by him during many talks.

Poetry was an interest since his college days when he became aquainted with Archibald Rutledge, then Poet Laureate of South Carolina. Later, he became involved in the North Carolina Poetry Society. He was President of the society for two terms, contest chairman for many years and served for twenty years as editor and publisher of Award-Winning Poems.

In 1971 Sam was co-founder of the Clan Mackay Society of North America (now Clan Mackay Society USA) and served as its first President. He continued to help guide the development of the society for many years as Chairman of the Executive Council. He worked closely with the Clan Mackay Society in Scotland and was honored by them in 1992.

Sam died 3 August 1997 after several years of declining health.



Riding Tides


The red-tailed hawk, a high cliff-nesting bird,
seeks food on valleys far from home.. He glides
downwind to reach tremendous speed, then turns
on quiet wings to rise on skyward tides.

The red-tailed hawk is wisdom's child, instead
of flapping at the wind, he calmly rides its lift
to reach the goal he sets for each today.
Now with his quarry quest completed, thrift
of labor speaks with bold accent: relax,
to rise on tides of thought that come as gift.


No Squirming In Church


My grandparents lived by rules -
the Bible, folk and almanac,
The Ten Commandments formed life's Constitution,
The Golden Rule and Beatitudes its By-Laws.
No swearing, no card playing (except for family Rook),
no carousing or "cuttin' up."
No work or play on Sunday,
not even cooking
unless the preacher came to dinner.
(I wondered why that made
Sunday-cooking less of a sin.)

Doctors were for extreme emergencies.
Healing was by positive suggestion,
aided with herbs and poultices
and the everpresent Mentholatum.
Food was plentiful but not ever
to be wasted - if anyone served his plate
with more than he could eat,
he stayed until he could!

Firewood was cut
in the light of the moon.
Corn was planted
when oak trees grew mouse ears.
Hoeing the crops
came before cultivating because
grass was dug out not covered up.
If there were two ways to do a thing,
the most difficult was the better.


The Ballad Of The Lonely Piper


(Written in memory of William T. McKay of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and Maitland, Florida, who was an ardent lover of the music of the bagpipes and himself an excellent piper, who organized a pipe band in Maitland, Florida. He was killed in an automobile accident on July 7, 1973.)

The piper living far from native soil
grew lonely for the skirling of the pipes.
Some music lovers came to hear him play,
and they became to him like chevron stripes.

The lonely piper taught them how to pipe.
To some he taught the drums - a band had they.
They practiced night by night and did so well
that many calls came in for them to play.

One night the lonely piper was not there.
He had a call to join the heavenly band.
The lonely piper is not lonely now,
He left his loneliness with us at hand.


--------------------
TheCarolinaScotsman


Ya'll drive safe and come back soon.
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greenldydragon 
Posted: 29-Aug-2004, 01:12 PM
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ZodiacHazel


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I really like the hawk poem. Very good poems and lovely ballad.


--------------------
DRAGON BLESSING

May dragons bring you wealth
and guard your treasures
May they banish darkness and enlighten you
May female dragons grant you inner power
May the Dragon Queen
neutralize your enemies
May Dragon Spirits
give you power over Elementals
May weather dragons
bring rain at your request
May Ti'amat effect the changes you command
May Ishtar grant you Dragon Power
May Ishtar grant you Dragon Power
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celtica 
Posted: 29-Aug-2004, 01:49 PM
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My favourite is the Ballad of the lonely piper.

Thank you for sharing these poems with us. smile.gif


--------------------
Que restera-t-il de notre sang ml au sel, sans trace dans les mmoires ? Une ultime navigation, trompeuse. Et des souvenirs, illumins d'embruns. Mais condamns au silence de la mer... Loc Finaz.
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Aaediwen 
Posted: 29-Aug-2004, 02:03 PM
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I agree smile.gif The Lonely Piper is touching. Also an interesting retelling in "No Squirming in Church". Glad I wasn't there though. And nice imagery in 'Riding Tides' wink.gif


--------------------
Poet and seeker of knowledge



Mountain Legacy -- Born in the isles, raised in Appalachia
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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 30-Aug-2004, 12:12 AM
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Here are some more. smile.gif

First Airplane Sighting

Grandpa was deaf.
We pointed out the plane to him.
He chewed tobacco,
spat rarely.
Frozen like a statue,
he and his hoe
made a triangle with the ground.
He gazed at the plane
until, in the far sky,
it was a little speck.
Then changing his stance,
he spat,
shifted his wad,
said,
"'Taint flapped its wings yet!"


Plowing Up Corn

Old Beck was gentle,
and slow,
and deaf (by choice).
Yet things went well
till midday - too well.
I was even proud
of my first plowing.
But then Old Beck began
living up to her fame,
she couldn't/wouldn't hear
a single command I gave.
Suddenly she got a burning urge
to go to the barn which
was diagonally across the field.
She chose the most direct route
and lost all vestige of slowness.
Setting the plow deeper
only increased her speed.
Grandpa had not told me how
to conquer a mule's mulishness,
so, Old Beck and I plowed up
some mighty nice corn that day.


Costly Tag

Uncle Archie was proudly mounting
the new license tag on his Model T.
Grandpa asked the price.
"two dollars."
"Humph!" grunted Grandpa,
"For that piece of tin you paid
a dollar and ninety cents too much!"


Surprise!

Car unavailable till seven-thirty,
Jim hitched Old Beck to the buggy
to take Jessie Mae to the party.
He helped her into the "carriage,"
sat proudly beside his "lady,"
and gently jerked the reigns
to start them toward the party.

But nobody really owned Old Beck.
She had finished her day's work,
Her mind was set on home
and home she went,
pulling the buggy,
a very agitated young man
and his quiet guest
into the barn.


The Parson

Robed in black and maroon,
armed with truth in pictures,
he captured the camp.

Quiet as a budding rose,
their eyes intent with listening,
he calmed their inner storms.

Mirth written on his face,
joy sounding in his voice,
he united lives in wedlock.

Tears on his heart,
sadness in his gait,
he said the benediction at their graves.

Giving of his best,
seeing small response, and being human,
he felt, at times, like piffle on the wind.

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greenldydragon 
Posted: 30-Aug-2004, 03:36 PM
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Hehehehhee, it hasn't flapped it's wings yet....that is a great line. smile.gif I also like Old Beck in the corn farming incident...hehehe great poems and stories along with them.
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urian 
Posted: 31-Aug-2004, 04:08 PM
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Thank you for sharing those, my friend...
I enjoyed them immensely


--------------------
'Dying for being different is still better than living as a Sheep'-anon
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WizardofOwls 
Posted: 31-Aug-2004, 10:09 PM
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Wonderful poetry, my friend! And from a fellow clansman to boot! Bratach Bhn Chlann Aoidh!


--------------------
Sln agus beannachd,
Allen R. Alderman

'S i Alba tr mo chridhe. 'S i Gidhlig cnan m' anama.
Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
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TheCarolinaScotsman 
Posted: 09-Sep-2004, 05:38 PM
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A few more for your enjoyment.

Guide To Murder

To kill your neighbor
do not use a gun
or axe
or maul of any kind -
these would be crude.

Peace-loving people
abhor criminal ways.
W do our murder
by more refined methods.

We use conformity,
enforced uniformity,
personal disdain,
social ostracism.
We sell the whispered word,
withhold the helping hand.

In short,
we kill by never caring.


Reconstruction

What does one do
when the sky falls in,
shatters into a thousand pieces,
piling up at one's feet,
rushing one's heart?
What does one do with the rubble?

One picks up the shards,
not all at once in panic,
but patiently,
bit by bit,
and builds another sky.

Not the same - that's impossible,
but a new sky that will be more beautiful -
in time.


Challenge

An arrowhead
shafted for true flight
hits the mark.

A word
given context
tells its meaning.

A homing pigeon
released
finds its loft.

Love
offered opportunity
shows its nature.

A human mind
inspired
reveals its worth.
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urian 
Posted: 15-Sep-2004, 05:34 PM
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QUOTE (TheCarolinaScotsman @ 09-Sep-2004, 05:38 PM)

Reconstruction

What does one do
when the sky falls in,
shatters into a thousand pieces,
piling up at one's feet,
rushing one's heart?
What does one do with the rubble?

One picks up the shards,
not all at once in panic,
but patiently,
bit by bit,
and builds another sky.

Not the same - that's impossible,
but a new sky that will be more beautiful -
in time.


I loved this one...thanks, bill.
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gaberlunzie 
Posted: 15-Nov-2004, 06:10 PM
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I agree. This one is absolutely awesome.


--------------------
"Now here's my secret", said the fox, "it is very simple. It is only with ones heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye."

("The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery)


"The soul would have no rainbow, if the eye had no tears."
(Native American Proverb)
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