Thursday 1 July 2010

A poem for Canada Day, 2010

after Dennis Lee

     Often the sun, the pollution, and the lives
     of citizens congregating are
     no different, invisible until
     they come gutted to the concrete.

     I watch the furies one morning, my city
     nailed, men and women muddy
     and crumpled before the
     phalanx riding down Yonge Street.  

     Eight-hundred odd scared skinny gawked      
     and bolted like rabbits, zigzag
     through porticos, twitching,
     rootless, human. We might asphyxiate.

     But in the tangle of truth, out of the smog
     and empire, we sit down as if our lives were real.

-- Paul Vermeersch, Canada Day, 2010

I created this poem on reflection of the events of the G20 summit in Toronto last week, during which we saw the largest mass arrests in Canadian history, executed with the flagrant abuse of police powers and the violation of the rights of hundreds of ordinary citizens as enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is an “elision” poem; the entire text of this sonnet is redacted from Civil Elegies (part 1) by Dennis Lee.  

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