First Prize 2008 Canadian Christian Poetry Contest (Summer): $250
About this Christian Poet:
Violet Nesdoly lives in Langley, B.C. with her husband. She is the mother of two adult children and is a grandmother. She does freelance writing in several genres. Her poetry has been published in Time of Singing, M.B. Herald, Prairie Messenger, CAPPERS, Birds and Blooms, utmostchristianwriters.com, and others. Her second book of poems, Family Reunion, was released in February 2007 in conjunction with her term of Utmost International Christian Poet Laureate, 2006-2008. It is available for purchase directly from her.
About this Poem:
In this piece I tried to touch on some of the ways the Canadian flag is significant to me. Though my backpacking trip to Europe was many years ago, the emotion I experienced when I saw another traveler with my Maple Leaf on their stuff sums it up the best.
“National flag of Canada
two by length and one by width, red
containing in its center a white square
the width of the flag
with a single red maple leaf
flies majestic since 1965
over town squares
by cenotaphs and schools
from Cape Spear, Newfoundland
to Beaver Creek, Yukon
to Middle Island, Ontario.
Proudly raised at Olympics
wrapping the grim coffins of soldiers
feted on Canada Day
marched in to the skirl of bagpipes November 11th
this silk-screened symbol
our experience and destiny
sea to sea to sea.
When so plentiful at home you no longer see
till it’s reincarnated into jester caps
umbrellas and wind socks
painted on faces, stamped on T-shirts
decaled onto mugs and beaver pens
abroad even one
grabs your homesickness
like the initials of a sweetheart.
Meet someone with your flag stitched on his pack
and you know he’ll understand Tim Horton’s
hockey, Z that rhymes with “bed”
loonies, toonies, Bruce Cockburn, Diana Krall
why “insurance premiums” and “healthcare”
don’t belong together
Air Canada, Air Farce, Red Green …
How great is it to have found someone
who speaks your own language, eh?
* Official description of the flag taken from the Public Works and Government Services Canada website: http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/realproperty/text/pubs_ceremonial/page2-e.html
Copyright©2008 by Violet Nesdoly