An Elegy for Gord Downie—

via A Review of Coke Machine Glow)



Elegantly trick-riding rain—

Savvy as Grant Fuhr in the crease—

Levitates militantly, but

Still drops, freckling, speckling sidewalks


In Kingston (ON); its task gets slurred:

Unlike a crack squad of hockey

Players, whose narrow explosions

Propel a puck, forward and back,


With prestigious impact—as if

They’re families of mechanics?

Wasn’t “He Who Walks with the Stars”—

Gord Downie—forensically


The same—gifted with poet genes,

Striking, pursuing Excellence?

Never once inconspicuous,

He vanished intermittently


From wine-country sunflowers to inns—

Under a chrome moon or brass sun—

With his band, so tragically hip,

Loping from moping bar to dope,


Yankee nightclub where the “plastic

Vampire teeth” turn out to be real,

And the hits echo revenge-porn—

Sociopathic advertising—


Grumpy chitchat, gritty upchuck—

Fools smacking dull guitars, punch-drunk

Drum kits, scuffing up Gothic airs.

Some hi-fis clarify a sewer?


He’s too soon dead who was a son—

A husband, a brother, who knew

Canadian was cinnamon-glaze

Donuts dripping maple syrup,


Or to roam Withrow Park, or strum

A guitar as if effecting

A slap-shot, or find th’exotic

Quite at home—The Group of Seven,


Al Purdy’s poems, curried poutine….

He knew that Canadian meant

“Anti-social” poets enjoying

“Long grass” in the wintry stretches,


Pitching the mind’s Rocky Mountains

Toward the sun.  Yes, he knew that

Canadian means bundling up

With loved ones, and not letting go.




[“Elegy for Gord Downie.”  Recited in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario by Percy Hatfield, MPP, on March 8, 2018.  Official Report of Debates (Hansard).  148.  2nd Session, 41st Parliament.  7709.]