CAPTAIN: A Brief Biography of Captain E.R “Ben” Pike (1921-2016)
Soul Fire: Poetic Cries of a Baby Boomer
On November 3, Island writer, J. Clinton Morrison, launched two new books at Lefurgey Cultural Centre, Summerside. The first book, entitled CAPTAIN: A Brief Biography of Captain E.R. “Ben” Pike (1921-2016), Summerside, P.E.I. (51 pages, staple-bound), was written in memory of a good friend who led an exciting and often dangerous life at sea. Morrison was first introduced to Captain “Ben” Pike by a mutual friend at a local coffee shop during the summer of 2012. Thus began a four-year friendship. Before long he realized he had made friends with “a wonderful man who had led a remarkable life.” After more than two dozen interviews Captain Pike shared his fascinating story with Morrison.
Born in Newfoundland in 1921, Pike lost his father in the great Atlantic gale of 1927 off Sable Island. It was a profound experience for the young six-year-old. He would later experience the earthquake of 1929 at Burin Bay and the loss of his mother in 1934. As a young teenager he soon went to sea working on sailing vessels and when World War Two began in 1939 he joined the British Merchant Navy and two years later transferred to the Canadian Merchant Navy. Soon after the car ferry, MV Abegweit, began service between Cape Tormentine and Borden in 1947, Captain Pike became one of its first officers. He quickly advanced to Master of the ship and eventually Superintendant of all CN Marine ferries at Borden and Cape Tormentine before his retirement in 1978. He died in 2016.
Morrison’s second book is entitled Soul Fire: Poetic Cries of a Baby Boomer. Morrison first began to write poetry around the time of his sixteenth birthday in 1964. Although he still writes some poetry, much of his verse found in this new book was written before he became more heavily involved in writing about Island history. His poetry has been strongly influenced by nineteenth century poets of the Romantic and Victoria periods and deals with seven main themes: Protest, War, Nature, Love, Heritage, Death, and Realization. His poetry is autobiographical and primarily deals with personal thoughts and feelings resulting from his often problematic journey through life. He has dedicated his book, Soul Fire, to anyone who has struggled along life’s journey.