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Monday, September 26, 2011


For Jack Layton: State Funeral and Celebration, August 27, 2011

Dream no little dreams (Indigenous prayer, spoken at the funeral)

The bagpipes play their strange sad lament –
TV lets us see everything without being there:
Olivia Chow’s strained face, baby Beatrice,
the silent surging crowd.

This morning I cleaned my kitchen cupboards,
touched up the orange paint (Colorado Dawn) –
death does this, makes us clean, straighten, see, listen, and touch –
loved ones, flowers, household clutter.

Rise Up – Amazing Grace – Hallelujah –
O Canada, how can we lose this man, who gave a voice to the voiceless,
home to the homeless, a song of hope to people in need –
not a saint, but a very human being.

I regret I did not know you, met you
only once – an NDP meeting – shook your hand,
saw your smile. The political is personal,
the personal political – you knew this by heart.

Now you go from the ordinary world – bike paths,
jam sessions, elections – into the mystic...
Into The Mystic, where we can’t yet follow.
All our love goes with you – love is all
we need to keep your dreams alive.

Ellen S. Jaffe

1 comment:

  1. This is such a touching poem. We have lost a decent person who tried his best to help others.

    I have had the privilege of meeting both of them at a small political gathering in North York. At that time, they were fasting to understand how it would feel to be hungry. At this party, there was lots of good food, but they both stuck to their guns and did not eat.