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Joe Batt’s Arm native pens seasonal selections

By DANNETTE DOOLEY Special to TC Media Joe Emberley of Joe Batt’s Arm has become an accomplished poet over years. The inspiration for much of his work comes from within.

Joe Emberley, who lives in Joe Batt’s Arm on Fogo Island, is not only a poet, but musician.

It’s the simplicity of his poetry that makes it charming to young and old alike.

Emberley describes himself as a religious man, but one who is no better than the next person. His belief in a creator and a saviour often come through in his rhyming versus. His faith has inspired him deeply, he said, and he spends a great deal of time practicing his faith.

“Over the years, by the grace of God, I’ve opened myself to the deeper levels of life,” Emberley told TC Media. “I think I’ve come to understand that I stand on the border between the spiritual, the physical and the natural.”

Emberley’s beliefs have given him a hunger for the written word. Poetry is his way of expressing himself, he said.

“I hope I have a positive effect on other people when they read what I write,” he said of sharing his poetry with others.

Whether writing about Christmas lights, snowflakes, mummers or the planet Pluto, Emberley creates vivid images for those who read his work.

Once he gets an idea, he said, it doesn’t take long for the poem to take shape.

“I have an inspiration that I’d like to write a poem about a certain topic,” he said. “First a title will come to mind and then not too long after I’ll sit down at my table and write. And in half-an-hour to an hour I can write a poem.”

In his poem “Christmas Lights” he writes:

                        Children are excited by Christmas lights

                        With thoughts of Santa and toy-filled sights

                        There was also much light from a certain star

                        As three kings astonishingly travelled far


Emberley works in the fish processing plants. He’s a member of the square dance group on Fogo Island and is an accomplished musician. He is known for his fiddle and accordion music at festivals and other events on Fogo Island. He also gives of his time to entertain residents at the hospital and played at the Christmas Concert in the Town Hall in Joe Batt’s Arm on Dec. 20.

A self-taught musician, as a child Emberley watched his father (the late Michael  Emberley) play the accordion and soon became interested in learning how to play himself.

“Dad learned me a few songs and I picked it up from there. It was like search and discover for me,” he said.

Whether it’s playing a tune on his fiddle or accordion or sending a few poems to the Pilot for possible publication, Emberley gets joy from sharing his creative endeavours with others.

“The poetry is in me and God wills that I pass it out and share it with others. Because it’s a gift to be shared and not to be kept to myself.”

Following are a selection of poems by Emberley

One Little Snowflake

One little snowflake floating through the air

As I contemplate the silence out there

I look through my window in the dark of night

Illuminated by my patio light.


From one snowflake one could write a book

About snows elements at which I can look

Some people say no two flakes alike

A mystery to fathom as I look into the night.


A wondrous reality perhaps beyond understanding

As one snowflake touches down on my landing

At its center one speck of stone

Enveloped by ice and all alone.


With arms reaching out as nature allows

Starlike in shape on which I can browse

Snowflakes are nature’s miniature

To be contemplated night and day.


Just one miniature work of the Creators Hand

An astonishing thing I don’t fully understand

From droplets of water ice crystals form

The elements of nature in a snowstorm.


The invisible power that sets things in motion

Creates the snowflake from natures lotion

Of elements plentiful both large and small

Cosmological forces that never stall.


Our ignorance is rebuked by the snowflakes mystery

The elements of which is winters history

The invisible force of the Creators Hand

Which formed the snowflakes on which we stand.



The Joe Batt’s Arm Mummers


There once was a time in Joe Batt’s Arm

When a movement evolved that was quite a charm

Oh it happened in other places as well

Passed down from the old folks as anyone can tell.


A group of people with covered faces

Dressed any old way from head to bootlaces

With accordion, fiddle, guitar in hand

They walked to and fro in outport Nfld.


They knocked on doors and were welcomed in

Played music and danced again and again

Were given a drink to enhance their mood

And feasted on some good old Nfld food.


Music and song being essential parts

Of the human psyche, the human heart

Mummers culture evolving from within

To satisfy the hunger for fulfillment again.


The longing of which humanity is filled

Cries out for a musical element instilled

Proceeding from the nature of the divine

Music, song and dance unfolding with time.


The mystery and musical elements pondered

The enjoyment at which many have wondered

The concept at which many have danced

And afterwards felt their lives more enhanced.


The mummers culture came across the sea

Without ancestors and passed on to you and me

And may we enjoy it in all its simplicity

As our forefathers did when they had no electricity.


Christmas Lights

They came in strings and all kinds of stuff

They can stir up a lot of seasonal fluff

They are really nice on a Christmas tree

No matter where the location may be.


Children are excited by Christmas lights

With thoughts of Santa and toy-filled sights

There was also much light from a certain star

As three kings astonishingly travelled so far.


This star was a first of Christmas lights

As these wise men visited the divinely chosen site

And the shepherds too were startled beyond

As a chorus of angels sang a new song.


The King of Kings had come to earth

To free us from the evils with which we flirt

Born in a stable on a cold, cold night

And from which shines the greatest of lights.


Born in a manger filled with hay

He fills our darkness with the brightest of days

Born in poverty and rejected by the world

As it rages on in a euphemistic swirl.


The Saviour of the world and creator of all life

Invites us to be free from all negative strife

He knocks and asks but never imposes

He respects our freedom and completely knows us.


His voice the world just cannot hear

For the world is caught up in tension and fear

Because of the absence of His love and grace

Which can make the earth a far better place.


Jesus our Saviour can free us from all sin

His Mother Mary inspires us to start again

So the brightest light can shine in our souls

And reach out to others, His Glory to behold.


Dance of the Snowflakes


Snowflakes are dancing on my window

North winds are howling as they blow

Winter makes its colder presence known

As the seasons always come and go


Snowflakes are the dancers of the season

North winds play the tunes that snowflakes know

Snowflakes big and fluffy, small and starlike

Dance through grassy fields and trees that grow.


Snowflakes cap the hills with their white icing

As spectacular as a wedding cake

Married to mysterious Mother Nature

As their ordered place they readily take


Settling in the deepest depths of forest

Making white the trails which rabbits take

Decorating trees of every kind

Creator in His kindness choose to make


Who can dance as swiftly as a snowflake

When winter winds play such a powerful tune

Who can move so rhythmically and quickly

In darkness and in moonbeams as they swoon


Swirling around streetlights, sheds and houses

As their starlike presence grace the air

Essential elements of spectacular nature

A concert of the creator’s making here.


A visual school of dance in winters heart

Created and creating as it goes

Sent forth by a love beyond all telling

Which lifts us all above our natural lows


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