Helen is looking for songs about cold for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday. Being a Canadian, I know many songs about cold, coldness, bitterness – be it the weather or the heart. I had a hard time deciding which song to chose. Songs with lyrics like “And you’re not here/on the coldest night of the year,” or “The same snow is falling, the same snow is falling on Lake Ontario,” and that’s just a tiny taste.
I’ve used this song for a Song Lyric Sunday prompt in December 2015, but the bleak Artic landscape makes me think of ice and winter. And I recently watched an episode of Plan Disasters that dealt with the plane fire that took Stan Roger’s life, so it seemed appropriate to use it again. And to keep with my theme of the rapid and alarming melting of the Artic ice.
So, here is Stan Roger’s Northwest Passage:*
Ah, for just one time I would take the Northwest Passage
To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea;
Tracing one warm line through a land so wide and savage
And make a Northwest Passage to the sea.
Westward from the Davis Strait ’tis there ’twas said to lie
The sea route to the Orient for which so many died;
Seeking gold and glory, leaving weathered, broken bones
And a long-forgotten lonely cairn of stones.
Three centuries thereafter, I take passage overland
In the footsteps of brave Kelso, where his “sea of flowers” began
Watching cities rise before me, then behind me sink again
This tardiest explorer, driving hard across the plain.
And through the night, behind the wheel, the mileage clicking west
I think upon Mackenzie, David Thompson and the rest
Who cracked the mountain ramparts and it did show a path for me
To race the roaring Fraser to the sea.
How then am I so different from the first men through this way?
Like them, I left a settled life, I threw it all away.
To seek a Northwest Passage at the call of many men
To find there but the road back home again.
Lyrics from CBC radio
*Once, the northwest passage – a sea route across the top of Canada was only a dream. that many explorers lost their lives trying to find. This is pre-Panama Canal, when a shorter trade route was sought.
Ice breakers, specially designed for the route did it in the 1970s. Now, so much of the ice has melted, the northwest passage is almost easy to navigate leading to a scramble between Canada, the US and Russia as to whose territory, whose oceans these are.
The finding of wrecks of British (hence Canadian) explorers’ ships in the deep cold waters has helped to boost Canada’s claim on the Artic and the northwest passage
January 15, 2017 at 1:36 pm
I remember this song and I really enjoy it. It was great to read some of the history as well. Thanks so much for sharing!
January 9, 2017 at 11:52 am
It is an amazing place — the music, the multi-cultures, the food, the landscapes, the people. I miss it, although I know it’s changed in the years I’ve been gone. It’s still a special place.
January 9, 2017 at 4:06 am
Thats interesting. I know hardly anything about Canada but find more and more what an amaxing country it is. Thanks fir sharing. I’ll check out the song!