Tulips to Say Thanks from Daphne Yetman

I’m part of a big family(13 kids) born in Newfoundland and Labrador, now living in Ontario for over 40 years. I’m married with one wonderful daughter and an amazing grandson. I’ve always been musically inclined (as are the rest of my siblings) and have been writing songs and poems for most of my life. I also like to create movies from pictures of places I have travelled with my husband.

To be honest, I was not aware of the tulip tradition until yesterday when I read about it on Facebook. I thought to myself, this seems like an interesting story, so I did the research this morning and came up with my poem, “Tulips to Say Thanks”. I hope that I haven’t misrepresented the history in what I wrote. I also hope that it reflects the pride I feel for our country, as that’s how I felt when writing this poem.



Tulips to Say Thanks

In spring of 1940 a princess came

From the Netherlands, Juliana, her name

The Second World War caused the family to flee

To London at first; their concern was safety


A month later, a new decision was made

The danger too much if the whole family stayed

A royal princess, with two daughters in tow

Then fled the U.K. “To Canada we go!”


They were offered asylum from Earl Athlone

Our Governor General appointed by throne

So, in Ottawa this Dutch family would stay

While in exile their home was the Stornoway


January 19th, 1943

Juliana gave birth to her third baby

Princess Margriet, who could become queen one day

Only if born in the Netherlands, they say


Ensuring her royal heritage remained

Extraterritorial, the ward became

That temporary change meant her birth would be

Considered as the Netherlands, her country


On our Peace Tower, their tri-coloured flag flew

Dutch music was played by the carillons too

Prince Bernhard, her father, spread news of his girl

To family in London, and then to the world


In 1945, the Princess went home

She never forgot what our country had done

A hundred thousand tulips she sent that fall

The Netherlands to Canada, thanks to all


The princess had asked if we could find some space

At Ottawa Civic Hospital, so many bulbs were placed

Tradition continues, the tulips still come

Bringing much joy and delight to everyone


By Daphne Yetman

May 1, 2021