Friday, September 18, 2009

Must be in the genes.

Here is an excerpt from the last will and testament of my ancestor John McTurk Gibson dated the 30th of April 1891. It seems atheism is not new to that branch of the family.

Last Will and Testament of John McT. Gibson

Realizing that "Life's fleeting dreams," will soon be over, and that my probation here is fast drawing to a close, and being as yet of sound mind, and capable of attending to my own business, I hereby declare this to be my last will and testament.

When dead I want no ostentatious, display of unnecessary, costly funeral extravagance, but everything conducted in as plain a manner, as is consistent with decency and decorum, and above all, I want no Preachers Pow Wowing round me dead or alive. I have always regarded this whole "Tribe of Levi" with loathing and disgust, fanned and intensified with their fanaticism, ignorance, intolerance and hypocrisy, and when the end comes, I want them to take a backseat while I take my departure in peace.

In fairness this could just be a rejection of religion instead of a statement of atheism however philosophically it is a view I respect either way. I know my grandfather, Johns grandson had no use for religion either, I recall him referring to it as foolishness. My great aunt, his sister also shows no particular religious devotion. Sadly I had no opportunity to know my great grandfather, from what I have heard he was an extraordinary man.

John McTurk Gibson, I have found, was in addition to being an explorer something of an accomplished poet. Writing, at times, under the pen name John Blunt.

Here is one of his poems regarding a young lady who's name was redacted. It reminds me of some of my writing, pretentious and overworded but still nicely put together and captivating. I find myself liking my grandfathers,grandfather more and more as I learn about him.


(Addressed To Miss C______ O______)

See, yonder sits enthroned on high,
The waning moon in the cloudless sky,
Clad in robes of the purest white,
Ruling supreme, o'er the silent night.

On wings of hyht, she skims along
Attended by a countless throng
As lesser orbs, that sparkling shine,
Mov'd by Creation, springs divine.

The limpid waves refract their beams
Wanton winds play o'er the streams;
Silence deep, in the village reigns;
Moonlight sleeps on the verdant plains.

Fragrance breathes in the passing gale,
Echo waits for the joyful tale,
Of heart-knit lovers 'mong the trees,
To tell it in the circling breeze.

Then let us down by Lugar stray
Through meads among the tedded hay,
Then nature's blessings round are spread,
And drooping flowers their fragrance shed.

We there, shall hear the cooing dove,
And raise our thoughts to things above
The sordid views of worldly men,
And breathe our love in every glen.

Here is a poem I once wrote regarding a young lady.

I once knew a girl of midnight eyes
A myriad twinkling stars
Darkened lake reflecting moonlight
A wildfire wreathed in smoke
She was a lightning summer nighttime
Trapped in human form

Once I loved this child of midnight
And such fierce joy I've known
But as all who love the nighttime
I woke and was alone

Now I must find a new love
With eyes cut from morning sky
With cool and dawning brilliance
And gentle healing light
Who will warm away my memories
Of lovely lost midnight.

Admittedly they are very distinct and I am sure that in part I am projecting when I see similarities between my poetry and my ancestors,but in reading his body of work I do feel it is familiar, having a certain boldness and drama that I also try to achieve.

I am having a great deal of fun with this discovery, my mother as well she is actually trying to go farther back and find information on his parents in Scotland, I am however perfectly content to spend my time getting to know this interesting and entertaining man.


Tracy said...

I absolutely love the poetry of your great,great grandfather and yours as well Ryk. I am impressed. Poetry is deep and gets you thinking.

My sister is into finding out about our relatives from long ago. She had some interesting finds.

My husband knows all the history in his family line.

Ryk said...


I really do think he is an interesting fellow. I know a bit of my history on my Dads side but my moms side is mysterious. John Gibson is from her dads family my grandmothers family is even more obscure. Although the parts I know are tantalizing. There is a story of high tragedy and triumph on a multi generational level there but it needs to be sorted out. That is a project I should set myself towards.