Tuesday, 23 August 2011

It's Never Too Soon to Not Forget Through Poetry...

Heartless Romantic Press has announced a memorial anthology of Jack Layton-inspired poetry in the style of Irving Layton. The collection, callously titled "You Don't Know Irving, Jack," hopes to, at the very least, immortalize Layton's legacy as a warm, fresh maple syrup-blooded politician for the everyperson, which means "minority," which actually means "majority" when you add up all those diverse minorities. The book promises to feature some of Canada's premiere scribes, including John Guxter, Derborah Farling, Anne-Joy Steebenbreicker and Peebles McDowell.

The editors at G'morning, Poetry! have obtained a sampling of already-rejected verse which had been submitted for consideration by the general public. Please, try enjoying.

Jack Layton and Life’s Reality 

by Dave Hood

A tragic story on so many levels.
A true story about life and death
shared on a sunny day in August,
news that reminds how life is so precious
so unpredictable, no matter what plans we make for the future.

Leader Jack Layton and his political party
Won an unprecedented number of seats in the May election.
He promised social change, looked forward to his role
As leader of the official opposition.
Then he was diagnosed with cancer,
Fought on for a few weeks in his private space.
One day in July, without warning,
he informed the Canadian people on national television
That was stepping down as leader of the opposition
After only two months in that position.
But he promised to return in September,
live his public life,
resume the fight to tranform Canada to his vision.

Today, I learned, with shock, deep sadness,
that Jack Layton, only 61,  died at 4:45 a.m.
on this cool August morning,
with autumn down the street,
just 3 1/3 months after victory and hope,
just a month after going on national television
promising to resume his life—take up is role as leader
of the Official Opposition.

Jack’s life changed suddenly, and without warning
Like a storm that blows in, rains on your walk, or cuts off the power
leaves you in darkness.
Jack’s life was taken away far too soon, like so many others
who wither away, suffer in private pain, fear of the unknown,
die a torturous death with cancer.

There is a universal truth here.
There’s a lesson to be learned,
Shared meaning for everyone:
“All you really have is this moment of time.
There are NO guarantees
that you’ll see the sun rise in the morning
or sun set in the evening.
You have only this moment of time.
Live your life in the present moment.”
Carpe Diem!!!

Keys of the Covenant (for Jack)

by Katherine L. Gordon

A key to Stornoway
as his pocket prize,
yet another on a chain
offered by a distant lockmaster
he would wish to deny.
A cane of courage
a crutch of ideals
all the fervor of a failing heart.
We will keep your place in history
to stretch those dreams
for every working man,
you have done more than you know.
Your spirit will still guide us to grow
on the road of decent fairness
to every struggling traveler,
not jails or sanctioned poverty
but shared freedom and wealth.
We keep our covenant with you.

"What is Success?" 

by Pam Calvert via Bessie Anderson Stanley

Jack Layton achieved success because he lived well, laughed often, and loved much; Jack enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; Jack filled his niche and accomplished his task; Jack never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it; Jack has left the world better than he found it, Jack always looked for the best in others and gave them the best he had; Jack Layton's life was an inspiration; his memory a benediction.

A long poem about Jack Layton (as promised)

by Atlas Hugged

The Cat in the cradle spit out the silver spoon,
And now we have a man who is over the moon

100 more seats than I think they deserved
He musters and blusters, and is hardly reserved

The picked over the corpse of nationalistic pride
And have since adopted a position which is easy to deride

He is a clever man, of this there is no doubt
Too bad his success has reduced his actual clout

Government in waiting, what a horrible joke
If he gets any closer, our country will be broke

Despite this sad truth, his genius is clear
By the end of 2012, his entire caucus will be old enough to drink beer

Populist plans to save Canadians from themselves
Proving the key is to elect Santa, not his elves

Ask all you want, the response will be plain
You better pull yourself up, or feel electoral pain

If you blow this one chance, your party is screwed
Quebec as a mistress, can be of foul mood

Betray the trust that she gave to you my friend
May see the country we live in soon end.

Opponents of Canada are sitting in wait,
Hoping you flounder, listing at the gate

I hope you succeed, you speak to their issues
And do not succumb to a flurry of miscues

Four years from now, I hope I am wrong
And then, only then, will I rewrite this song

21 hours ago

by status update

Samuel Taylor Coleridge Rest in Peace, Jack Jayton. Lydia Cabrera goodbye, jack. rest in peace. Stevie Smith I love my Jack-loving riding: Réaction d'Alexandre Boulerice, le député NPD de Rosemont au décès de Jack Layton. « Nous venons tous de perdre un homme profondément bon, juste et honnête. Une inspiration pour des milliers de personnes. On va continuer Jack.» Milton Acorn I had a local, personal encounter with Jack many years ago that I've never forgotten. Everything about him in that moment reflected who he was and how he did things on the big stage. He was diligent, committed, and impossibly generous. The best way to honour him is to bring those qualities to the fight we face over the next few years, in Toronto and across the country.

Poetry sales help ex-con get by

by David Hutton

“Five bucks,” he says. “If you want it signed, it’s 10 bucks. It’ll be worth $11 when I’m dead.”
“What did you do time for?” the girl asks, gazing at the cover, which features photocopied handcuffs and a prisoner number.
“It’s on Page 1,” he says.
At the age of eighteen
I was already a con
For killing a man
Who done me wrong
In his poem Life, Taylor writes about forfeiting the heart of his life to prison as a convicted murderer. He outlines his criminal past without emotion and won’t divulge more than an executive summary. He claims it was at a Calgary hotel bar. It was over a pool game. He was stabbed and retaliated. He was 14, rebellious, he says.

“My parents bought me a lawyer and never talked to me again,” Taylor says. “I’m still trying to get over it. I’ll never live it down.”
I’ve done my time and paid my debt
But society won’t let me forget
Life after life it’s hard to say
I try and live life day by day

Taylor says his poetry surprises and confuses people. The book is popular with the down-and-out, but even friends can’t grasp the conflicting image of the hardened and gritty-looking Taylor as a reflective poet, he says. “People look at me and they look at the poetry and it doesn’t match. People don’t see it coming out of me.”

The 56-year-old’s hair is cut short, a departure from years of letting it grow wildly. He is covered in tattoos inked by hand in prison, including a skull on his neck above his collar and a hangman’s noose that runs from his shoulder blade to the middle of his chest. The tattoo was inscribed after he attempted suicide shortly after arriving at the Prince Albert penitentiary as a teen. The fast-talking Taylor is as restless as an alley cat, a hustler who’s always on the move through Saskatoon’s core by foot. He jumps from soup kitchen to soup kitchen for meals or visits friends — what he calls being ‘on the grind.’

Below and Above (poem for Jack) 

by Sho Wiley

Jack L's moustache lives
eyes too wise for final sighs
smile ever rises, wins 

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