POETRY, HUMOUR and ANECDOTE: spoken arts

Diefenbaker                           John G on Sir John A – Canada’s 13th prime minister tells stories about our founding PM

Scott, D.C.                               On the Way to the Mission

Trudeau (1)                             un des plus célèbres discours de Pierre Trudeau au cour de la compagne référendaire au Quebec en 1980:                                                     “Bien sûr,  mon nom c’est Elliott …”

Klein, A.J.M.                          This Montréal poet of the 1930s-40s reads “Political Meeting” on a race-loaded speech in the conscription                                                     crisis of World War II

 Les Cyniques                        La bataille des plaines d’Abraham en forme d’un commentaire sportif bilingue

Monique Leyrac                   “Félix Leclerc chante et dit …”

Readings by Four Kingston Poets

                                                     Gail Fox                                   Love Poem

                                                     Tom Marshall                       Near Kingston/country heat

                                                      Stewart MacKinnon          Poem for Silent Hand

                                                      David  Helwig                       Harbour

Scott, F.R.                                 “All the Spikes But the Last”


             Three century-old poems (2 sonnets) on Canadian cities

OTTAWA BEFORE DAWN                                                                                          D. C. Scott

The stars are stars of morn; a keen wind wakes

The birches on the slope; the distant hills

Rise in the vacant North; the Chaudière fills

The calm with its hushed roar; the river takes


An unquiet rest, and a bird stirs, and shakes

The morn with music; a snatch of singing thrills

From the river; and the air clings and chills.

Fair, in the South, fair as a shrine that makes


The wonder of a dream, imperious towers

Pierce and possess the sky, guarding the halls

Where our young strength is welded strenuously;

While in the East, the star of morning dowers


The land with a large tremulous light, that falls

A pledge and presage of our destiny.


QUÉBEC                                                                                                                    Jean Blewett

Québec, the grey old city on the hill,

Lies with a golden glory on her head,

Dreaming throughout this hour so fair, so still,

Of other days and her beloved dead.

The doves are nesting in the cannon grim,

The flowers bloom where once did run a tide

Of crimson when the moon rose pale and dim

Above a field of battles stretching side.


Methinks within her wakes a mighty glow

Of pride in ancient times, her stirring past.

The strife, the valour of the long ago

Feels at her heart-strings.  Strong and tall and vast

She lies, touched with the sunset’s golden grace,

A wondrous softness on her grey old face.

CALGARY OF THE PLAINS                                                                      E. Pauline Johnson


Not of the seething cities with their swarming human hives,

Their fetid airs, their reeking streets, their dwarfed and poisoned lives,

Not of the buried yesterdays, but of the days to be,

The glory and the gateway of the yellow West is she.


The Northern Lights dance down her plains with soft and silvery feet,

The sunrise gilds her prairies when the dawn and daylight meet;

Among her level hands the fitful southern breezes sweep,

And beyond her western windows the sublime old mountains sleep.


The Redman haunts her portals, and the Paleface treads her streets,

The Indian’s stealthy footstep with the course of commerce meets,

And hunters whisper vaguely of the half-forgotten tales

Of phantom herds of bison lurking on her midnight trails.


Not hers the lore of olden lands, their laurels and their bays;

But what are these compared to one of all her perfect days?

For naught can buy the jewel that upon her forehead lies

The cloudless sapphire Heaven of her territorial skies.