© David Watts
A line between two points may be a spiral
Connection takes a common plane of view
A line that’s stiff and straight may break with tension
A spiral helps to work the difference through.
Canadian Pacific through the Rockies
Came up against two hurdles in its course
The one was on the pathway found by Rogers
The other at the pass of the Kicking Horse.
The Big Hill at best was temporary
A stopgap to get traffic moving through
And twenty years near misses were reminder
The Kicking Horse was a stretch they must re-do.
The Railway adopted a proposal
Put forward by its Master of Design—
Switzer’s plan: a pair of looping tunnels
To halve the grade with twice the length of line.
The Swiss invention fitted with precision
For in our country when we have a goal
We need to find a kind of sideways thinking
That comes from looking at a larger whole:
“Une société distincte” in a Dominion
—the compromise our Fathers wrestled for
And “conscription if needed, but then only”
—the only way we made it through the War.