First-time Chilliwack writer wins provincial poetry contest

Chilliwack's Gerry Eggert is the winner of the Ode to a Farmer poetry contest put on by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets

Gerry Eggert won this year's 'Ode To a Farmer' poetry contest put on by the BC Farmers’ Markets.

Gerry Eggert won this year's 'Ode To a Farmer' poetry contest put on by the BC Farmers’ Markets.

Gerry Eggert had never written a poem in his life. He’s not even a writer.

But earlier this month, the first poem he ever wrote won a provincial poetry contest.

Eggert is the grand prize winner of this year’s annual Ode to a Farmer poetry contest put on by the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets.

“It flabbergasted me,” says Eggert. “I never wrote anything in my life before. I thought, at best, it would get an honourable mention.”

It all came about one night after his wife went to bed. Eggert sat down with a diet Pepsi, picked up The Progress, and read about the contest.

“The words just came. I got a pen and paper, jotted it down, and went to bed,” he says. “I did it in about 20 minutes, and in the morning I changed a few words.”

His poem, The Farm Wife, is about “loyalty and dedication and sticking by your man through thick and thin. Some of those farm men, and men in general, can be difficult to deal with.”

Eggert should know. He’s been married for 52 years.

“It’s an ode to all wives, as corny as that sounds. My wife cried when she read it. It was a good cry.”

So he mailed it in and forgot about it.

“When I got the call and she said I won, I said ‘I won what?’ And she said ‘everything.’”

It came as a shock to Eggert who, along with not being a writer, isn’t even a farmer.

However, he’s always appreciated farming.

He grew up in the farming community of Ottawa Valley, his grandparents were farmers, and he’s visited a number of farms in Saskatchewan through people he met while in the navy. He then moved to Chilliwack, surrounded by farms.

“You can’t live in Chilliwack without appreciating the large Dutch families and European farms. They have good ethics,” he says.

Eggert didn’t hate poetry in high school (hate is such a strong word, he says), but he definitely disliked it.

It’s a good thing that passed, if only for one night, because his well-worded poem won him a $150 gift certificate to the Abbotsford Farm and Country Market.

Just Posted

Jean-Pierre Antonio
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A new sign was installed at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Community effort to install new sign at Chilliwack’s oldest church

‘We feel it’s a step in the right direction to bring the church up-to-date,’ says St. Thomas parishioner

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read