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Violet Nesdoly

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.

Flag

“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
    centered therein”*
flies majestic since 1965
  over town squares
   by cenotaphs and schools
from Cape Spear, Newfoundland
  to Beaver Creek, Yukon
Alert, Nunavut
  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
   stitches together
  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