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