& occasionally about other things, too...

Saturday, October 20, 2018

This Land of Freedom, Canada

Gavin Barrett organizes the Tartan Turban Secret Reading series in the offices of Barrett and Welsh in Toronto's east end. He’s been doing this for the last year-and-a-half. 
It’s a wonderful reading series that provides a venue once a month for authors, poets and artists to come together for a few hours in the evening and share their creations with an appreciative and supportive audience. 
Gavin, being Gavin, credits me for being the co-founder of the series, although frankly, I do nothing more than show up for the readings.
This past week, I heard a beautiful poem This Land of Freedom, Canada by Teresa Hall, a Toronto east end poet. She read the poem during the open mic session. 
Before reading the poem, she spoke of her family – a Polish dad and a Scottish mother, and the children, walking along Yonge Street looking for a home.
It reminded me of our own walk down Lawrence Ave West a decade ago. 
Mahrukh, Che and I took a bus from Malton, got off at the intersection of Lawrence Ave and Good Shepherd Road, and then began to walk back, finally reaching Keele and Lawrence, where we rented an apartment at 1440 Lawrence Ave West. 
Teresa Hall’s poem is about a Canada that all newcomers understand while going through perennial hardships. The poem This Land of Freedom, Canada has been published in Canadian Stories Magazine in 2016, The Bluffs Voice in 2018 for Canada Day and then on exhibit at the Agincourt Public Library for the month of September and finally featured in Nuit Blanche, Faces of Scarborough, Scarborough Civic Centre.
Teresa Hall

This Land of Freedom, Canada
You came into this Land of freedom,
with chains around your mind and soul.
With unbound hands and heavy heart,
which way to turn, which way to go?
I can show you places, where thoughts
can tumble out like thistle-down upon
the wind, to take root and grow.
Here - in this ancient Land of Inuit and native
son, where voyageurs once rode wild rivers
above the granite shield, and where battles
were fought and won, so long ago...
This Land of healing grace, of
star-filled nights and scarlet sunsets
'cross a mountain view. Of northern
lights, musk ox and polar bear,
of prairie farmers, wheat and caribou.
Land of the fishermen and red-rimmed soil,
of cities with their towering spires where
workers toil. She will embrace you too!
This Land of quiet strength will break away
those chains. Your children's children
will one day say, my forebears, came,
then found what they were searching for,

in this Land of freedom, Canada.

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