By Tom MacGregor
Came home from the wars
With Small dreams.
He returned to Prince Edward Island
And his estate Woodliegh
With a plan to build miniatures,
Replicas of the great gothic
Buildings in Britain
That like him survived both world wars.
He built a Westminister Abby
With towers that rise to my shoulders
And the Tower of London
Is not so threatening
When it can be climbed
In a few steps.
He had come to love poetry
And its landmarks.
He built a trip of cottages
That had been owned by William Shakespeare
And another owned by the prolific and profligate
He built Yorkminster
Thought to be the churchyard where Thomas Gray
Heard "The curfew toll the knell of parting day"
"The paths of glory lead but to the grave."
These were the very lines that James Wolfe
Another soldier on Canadian soil
Read over and over again
As he waited for the parting day
To brim the dark
To conceal his crossing
And advance on Quebec City.
Did the general know he was on a path of glory,
A victory he would only see
Lying on the ground
With the blood being wiped from his eyes?
Johnstone survived two wars.
He lived to see his estate and odd hobby
Begin to become a tourist attraction
On this small island
An hour's drive from anywhere to the sea
With beaches never to be thought of
In the great cathedrals of Britain.
What dreams of immortality did he have
As he strolled through his imported kingdom
Looking down on his work?
"Let not ambition mock their useful toil
Their lonely joys and destiny obscure."