Daily Archives: July 4, 2008

Poetry Friday: Canada

This week contained Canada Day, and it went more or less uncelebrated in my house. (Is lounging about drinking lemonade on your back porch for hours and hours with your dog celebrating?) So here’s a great patriotic poem offering a rather romantic portrait of Canada.

Canada – by Billy Collins

I am writing this on a strip of white birch bark
that I cut from a tree with a penknife.
There is no other way to express adequately
the immensity of the clouds that are passing over the farms
and wooded lakes of Ontario and the endless visibility
that hands you the horizon on a platter.
I am also writing this in a wooden canoe,
a point of balance in the middle of Lake Couchiching,
resting the birch bark against my knees.
I can feel the sun’s hands on my bare back,
but I am thinking of winter,
snow piled up in all the provinces
and the solemnity of the long grain-ships
that pass the cold months moored at Owen Sound.
O Canada, as the anthem goes,
scene of my boyhood summers,
you are the pack of Sweet Caporals on the table,
you are the dove-soft train whistle in the night,
you are the empty chair at the end of an empty dock.
You are the shelves of hooks in a lakeside cottage:
Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh,
A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson,
Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery…

For the rest, go to Poetry Foundation. Oh, and happy 4th of July!

(photo © Jordan Miller for openphoto.net CC:Attribution)