Thursday, June 18, 2009

Johnny Mac

Since this is bad poetry week, here is an early "historical" poem I wrote about Sir John A. MacDonald.

I was looking for you the other day
but you weren’t there
I heard you’d left long ago
I don’t think I’ll find your like again

Things might not be as they are
if you were still with us
to hold us by the hand
guiding us with your fire

You bound us all in ferrous ties
from sea to shining sea
de la mer ver brilliante la mer
un mare usque ad mare

When the annexationists advanced
the old flag, the old man
the old policy you screamed
infusing us with that belief

The doctors said you wouldn’t live
but you soldiered on
so your dream would not die
though it may stop your fading heart

A father to the nation
Riel became you curse
as you bowed to orange anger
nearly tearing us asunder

You often staggered drunk
into the town and to the House
everyone knew the truth of it
yet you still kept going

Healing the rifts as best you could
you held us all together
defiantly shouting down defeat
emerging triumphant in the last

You are where our journey starts
not at Vimy r at Normandy
or Johannesburg or Ypres
but at a tiny grave in Cataraqui Kingston

I may be the last to know of your sacrifice
aside from the face on a bill
or the names of a school or road
your descendants have forgotten you

I remember what you once said
“when fortune empties her chamberpot
on your head, smile – and say
we’re going to have a summer shower”

I wish you were here right now
you’d know what to do
you’d get us by somehow
I know you would Johnny Mac

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