Markstad, Blanche E. “Health.” In Poems by Blanche E. Markstad, 1897-1975. Ed. Don Buchanan.  [Edmonton, AB: Editor, 2011]. 11.

Sometime between 1916 and 1918, Blanche Elizabeth MacDonald moved west from Nova Scotia to Alberta to teach at the Elk Point school.  In 1918, she married Charles John Markstad, a widower with 5 young daughters. Three more daughters followed, and the second of these, Edythe (“Edy”), married Don Buchanan, who gathered his mother-in-law’s poetry—written mainly for the family—and produced this 62-page collection.  A comment on the Elk Point historical website notes that Blanche Markstad had some of her earlier poetry “published in the Lutheran Herald,” so we are looking for that.

I am indebted to Dr. Isobel Grundy, Professor Emeritus in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, for providing me with a copy of the collection.

Health (1925)

How nice it is to feel again
The longed for breath of health,
The breath that brings to us always
The source of all our wealth.

How often when we lie abed
In sickness and in pain,
We plan on marvelous things to do
When we get well again.

And when the day comes that we place
Our feet upon the floor,
The joys of full a thousand years
Are blended in that hour.

And then as day by day our strength
Returns to us again,
A new life seems to rise and stay
Within our poor weak frame.

Oh kindly is our Maker then
To grant us such release
From pain and suffering here beyond
In heaven, forever peace.