Poems written as Parliamentary Poet Laureate


From the Diary of William Andrew White, à Lajoux, Jura, France, Décembre 1917

 

A powerful rain

dins down these mountains,

rinses peak snow into hellish streams,

floods gully and pitfall.

 

FULL POEM

Ain’t You Scared of the Sacred?:  A Spiritual

 

Ain’t you scared of the Sacred?

Ain’t you scared of the Sacred?

Divinity spies you naked.

Tremble or your heart breaketh.

 

FULL POEM

 

Up in Smoke, or Reverie on the “Mary Jane” Legislation

 

If Parliament high-fives marijuana,

Druggists will decide that grass is manna

(Reefer potent right now—and mañana:

Good weed feeds medicinal arcana);

 

FULL POEM


Kaddish for Leonard Cohen

(à la manière d'Allen Ginsberg)

 

This terrible, irritable dawn—

This morning of Mourning

His obituary crowbars apart

Prophecy and Nostalgia...

 

FULL POEM


Letter to Canada

(pace Allen Ginsberg's "America")


Canada, when will we finally enforce a Pax Canadiana in America,

replacing all their automatic weapons with hockey sticks?

 

FULL POEM


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

 

FULL POEM


On Heckling, or Oral Violations of Standing Order 16

 

To exclaim, loudly, is no boorish act -

So long as Members honour the contract

That one is silent to let others speak,

To audit discourse with thought forensic.

 

FULL POEM


Beat Meditations:  Beach / Mountain

 

Waves shining like woven cord and straw—

shoot forth short fronds—

linear whips—

knotting against rocks

or leafing with seaweed,

 

FULL POEM


i have now seen….

 

i have now seen -

nestled twixt warped ties of rusted train tracks,

snow, aged dingy, grey and black,

frosting loose, brown dirt and jumbled gravel,

 

FULL POEM


Yukon / Utopia

 

In “Spell of the Yukon,” Bobby Service suggests,

The realm’s Utopia—snock snarls of forests;

Avalanches that out-grumble politicos;

Gold that outweighs paper dollars backed by zeroes;

 

FULL POEM


On Political Economy; or, The Ballad of Viola

Desmond

 

It's impossible proof! The ten-dollar

Bill sporting her face demonstrates "Crime pays":

But, first, the heroine has to holler;

She has to be jailed while ass-like Law brays

 

FULL POEM


For the Murdered & The Missing:  A Spiritual

 

Someone’s guilty of a million crimes!

Blood on his hands, Death on his mind!

To send my sister away, away;

To put my mama in a distant grave.

 

FULL POEM

 


More Poems Online


"Address to a Politico."

For Robert Burns night, published on the League of Canadian Poets website,

January 23, 2018.


"The Gospel of Tobit."

September, 2017.

 


"Answer 3." 

A Dialogue. "Ain't you Scared of the Sacred?" (With Aaron Kent).

April 8, 2017.

 


"Elegy - Non-Partisan - for Fidel Castro."

The Halifax Examiner, December 3, 2016.

 


"The Testament of Ulysses X." 

The Malahat Review, summer 2016.

 


"Solomon 2:1-7" and "Experience 1:1-9"

The Toronto Review of Books, October 15, 2013


Translation of "Self-composed."

Chinese Translation by Anna Yin.

April 22, 2017.


"Extro: Reverie & Reveille."

YVR (Vancouver International Airport, Richmond, British Columbia)

24 Février MMXVII.

(CBC: Published Online September 30, 2017.)



“III. The Fire Sermon"

Waste Land German translation by Paul Celan [1947].  The Walrus.  April 15,

2016.


"Royal Audience"

Eyewear, the Blog, January 7, 2011


Recorded Readings


“Never,” performed with Chris White and Mary Gick at Parliament Hill, November 17, 2017.

“Position/Status/Place.” Poem for the Minister for the Status of Women. October 23, 2017.

"An Introduction to the Late Revolution in 'Haiti': by Abraham Lincoln (1834)."

“On Autism or Authoritative Art.” Performed at the Metcalfe Hotel in Ottawa, Canada for Autism Canada.

"Everything Is Free". Ron Davis' brilliant SymphRONica - the electric/acoustic jazz/pop/string group - accompany Clarke and vocalist Shelley Hamilton in a performance of the poem.

“Surveying Winnipeg.” Written by George Elliott Clarke as the Poet Laureate of Parliament, about Winnipeg.

George Elliott Clarke reads at the Art Bar Poetry Series, September 13, 2016.

“Poem on Transgender Equality, or Re: Bill C-16.” Recited into Hansard record of the House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario, by Julie Dabrusin, MP, on November 18, 2016, at 12:57 p.m. (EST).

“Jealousy.”

“A Edgar Mittelholzer.” Performed to the music, “Magmatea,” by Triat.