As an American celebrating his fourteenth Canada Day on Canadian soil, here is an ode to my adopted country. Inspired by Keats’ poem “Ode On a Grecian Urn”, this is my hymn of praise to the True North. Written on July 1, 2014.
Thou still unravished bride of whiteness,
Thou foster-child of Britain and of France,
Mowat and Atwood likely could express
A better ode than this American putz:
What maple leaf –fringed legend haunts thy shape
Of Gretzky and mortals or both
In Toronto or the dales of Burnaby?
What men or Mufferaws are these? What Acadians loth?
What Trivial Pursuit? What pass from tape-to-tape?
What fiddles and bagpipes ? What tepid Red Rose tea?
Shaped dough of Tim’s is sweet, but flowing syrup
Sweeter, therefore, trees tap on;
Not just for sensual tongue but, more endear’d,
Feed our spirits with thy rich tone.
Fair youth on outdoor rinks cannot yet go
Home though supper-time be called;
No winning shot has yet been tallied
Skate on despite wind and cold.
Warmth will flood when, arms upraised,
Is heard, “He shoots! He scores!”
What land is this that freezes and boils,
Where deep snow yet blistering sun is seen?
Toques, Mukluks and tanks of heating oils
Exist with swimming trunks, AC and sunscreen.
In span of but weeks the snowshoers tread
On waters now solid and still;
Only now calm from the cottagers play,
From Ski-dos, canoes, loons and kabooms.
From evergreen to seemingly dead,
A cycle no death can kill.
O Canuck land, fair and free, doth teem
Of men authentic, maidens fair overwrought,
With forests, lakes, rivers and trodden paths,
Your vast form dost tease us out of thought.
Cities rumble, roll and flow; highways stretch beyond
Imaginings; people red and white and black and tan
Make a tapestry draped in full humanity.
Sea to sea to sea and there and back again,
Draws from each soul a simple, “It’s a beauty, eh?”
And in truth beauty, beauty truth
C, A, N, A, D, and A