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The Rail Ties That Bind

A little girl
She comes to a land of ghosts
Almost empty streets
She wonders
Where are all the people
No one here looks like her
Within her heart
Emotions stir

It is so cold
Where oh where, is the mountain of gold
Her mom and dad they are so bold
People of action
Not of words

Hong Kong 
Left behind
A new future to find
They endured the sad
A world not kind

Their crowded apartment
A benevolent uncle stole
To leave the country they paid a toll
Plane tickets in her fathers hand
Brought his family to a new land
The little girl did not understand

The language she knew
Was Chinese
She spoke it with such ease
She thought, she must throw it away
The bits of her culture slowly stripped day by day

Forced to grow up, with blinding speed
She looks after, siblings needs
No time for her
She couldn't play
Duty and honour
The Chinese way

Mom and dad, working night and day
They do so much, for little pay
Food on the table
Their sacrifice
A warm home 
Within a land of ice

Through the years
A life is built
Yet the little girl, she is filled with guilt
She knows, there's been a sacrifice
Beneath the surface, of all that's nice

Many, many, years ago
Her grandfather was here
Away from her dad, for many years
Cooking for men, who worked the rail line
A small comfort when they would dine

Disposable humans
They took the risk
The horrors so many
To long too list
They needed their families
So far away
Yet the politicians, turned them away

The abuse he suffered
With all his friends
It seems now the Government 
wants to make amends
The past and future, are combined
You can't move forward
Without looking behind

The little girl, now grown up
For the past, she gives her thanks
Dreams from ties
She rides their rails
Blood and sweat 
from hammering nails
She hears echoes, from the past
It seems their gifts, were forged to last

My wife went to a forum where the government 
apologized for the awful things that were done
to the Chinese people who came to work in
Canada. So many Chinese men left their homes
in search of a better life for their families. They
were forced into slave like labour to build our
cross country railway. Many of them lost their 
lives in the process. They were not allowed to
bring their families. When the earlier generations 
came they were charged a head tax to move to Canada.
This discrimination was exclusive to Asian people.
This is a sad chapter in our Canadian History.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2014

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Date: 2/17/2014 8:14:00 AM
It is good that you have written this to enlighten those who did not know and for those who did to refresh their memory..Maybe by knowing history won't repeat itself...Thanks for the visit to congratulate ...Sara
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 2/17/2014 9:17:00 AM
My pleasure Sara
Date: 1/24/2014 7:43:00 AM
This is a sad story, but your wife has obviously emerged from a haunting painful past to become a beautiful caring woman.
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/24/2014 8:15:00 AM
She certainly has, thanks Monterey.
Date: 1/17/2014 8:20:00 AM
i was just in hongkong this christmas and i feel the angst of this write, rich... tremendous description of a sad plight.. wonderful!.. huggs
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/17/2014 8:42:00 AM
I have never been, and my wife seems to have no desire to go back. Huggs to you as well Nette.
Date: 1/17/2014 3:21:00 AM
One of my fondest pastimes is watching the railway run through town. The rail line seems to sing a distant Candace screaming out a buried anger, unsure how to articulate all it's seen... So like a call to war it screams, it's beat in constant rhythm Echo's all it cannot speak. Telling my it's stories from places deeper that words. I will never forget this poem now as I watch the night train rushing by. Simply beautiful!
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Sarai Virden
Date: 1/19/2014 6:02:00 AM
Hi Richard, just wanted to invite you and your lovely bride to check out my recent post called Night Train. Think you would enjoy it. Hugs
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/17/2014 8:00:00 AM
Your comment is a beautiful poem, it has touched me. Thanks so much. I will share this with my wife who is the little girl.
Date: 1/16/2014 11:38:00 PM
You are one of my favorite poets. Your substance is gripping and your talent is humbly displayed in each verse you put forth. I love this piece. I'm adding it to my favorites. Thank you for sharing
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/17/2014 7:51:00 AM
Wow, juli-Michelle what a thoughtful comment. You have just made my day. Hugs Rick.
Date: 1/16/2014 10:40:00 PM
Very well written and informative poem. Thanks for sharing.
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/16/2014 11:10:00 PM
Thanks Jon
Date: 1/16/2014 9:39:00 PM
You ended it on a great note. I really liked that last line. You know, it happened almost the same in the US. the chinese built the raliways going east. I think it was mostly the Irish that were put on the tracks going west. Poor people that suffered here along with the native americans and the blacks.
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/16/2014 11:11:00 PM
It is sad how humans treat each other. Thanks for commenting.
Date: 1/16/2014 6:35:00 PM
A very good poem Richard, Something similar to this story happened in the US too. It's nice to see someone write about history....Roger
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/16/2014 6:48:00 PM
Thanks Roger I am pleased you enjoyed it.
Date: 1/16/2014 6:46:00 AM
Hats off to you my friend for such a Bold and touching write. In almost all developed countries the story is same Richard. Words of Freedom and equality shines only on the books politicians, but when it comes to reality the story is different. But never mind the voices which come from the depths of heart soul always create a magical change. Keep writing such touching words you would see the impact soon. Sorry that I returned from my son's place today only. Love & best wishes.. .Ravindra K Kapoor
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/16/2014 7:51:00 AM
Thank you for this thoughtful comment, have a most excellent day Ravindra.
Date: 1/15/2014 10:25:00 PM
Richard...I visited this wonderful and moving write yesterday. I left a post, but I don't see it anywhere. Richard....this is such a sad write about the reality of your wife's family's experience in Canada. So so sad....It is always the foreigners who get ill treated. I can't possibly recapture all I shared with you in my last post. Perhaps it is for the best. I do want to tell you that your writing shines through here. Your voice helps to right the injustice...even years on down the line.
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/16/2014 12:47:00 AM
Thanks, bed time, we'll chat tomorrow.
Date: 1/15/2014 4:47:00 PM
I am utterly speechless. What a story. What a sad surprise for the Chinese people. A "head tax", damn... =/ I deeply applaud you for this.
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/15/2014 5:58:00 PM
It was $500 per person which was a fortune back then.
Date: 1/15/2014 3:38:00 PM
I believe every country has a sad chapter in their history..To acknowledge the wrong decisions taken take lots of guts..These sad chapters happeen even in Europe and unfortunately even on my little isle.We say racism is over but I still see only coloured people doing certain jobs on the isle..and We say we are catholic..We say we are neutral. We say we worship freedom and human rights..That's my isle I' m talking about.This poem is going to my favs..Touched my heart and soul..
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/15/2014 3:44:00 PM
Hi Charmaine as always your visit brings such joy. Thanks for adding to your favorites.
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Charmaine Chircop
Date: 1/15/2014 3:39:00 PM
Btw...tnks for your support on my last post..fixed it a bit ..: )
Date: 1/15/2014 3:01:00 PM
This is so sad and yet it contains a lesson for everyone. If only the government had passed up sacrificing humans for a rail way! We should indeed never take our loved ones for granted, time and unforseen occurence... I feel for all those like this little girl lost in a land so new to her
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Richard Lamoureux
Date: 1/15/2014 3:43:00 PM
So nice to have you visit me. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.