An anthem by JC Celebrates Canada Day, 2020

Anthem

The Mountie sings “O Canada”—
a fine baritone in scarlet.
Odd how his stiff, brown hat stays put.

I strain to hear the others. Their singing jumbles
off high glass planes, transparent walls.
I make out “Des plus brilliants,

God keep,
Glorious and free.”
I hear my voice, small in the great room

“O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.”
I will the words to be true,
fear we are not up to it.

Many don’t vote,
squander their choices, our democracy.
Grumble at leaders in power almost by default.

Our fault, really.
Centred in little lives, blind to our need
to protect our Canada — beautiful, fragile.

We ought to know better, to know
what to do for our country every day
and in times of flood, plague, war and fire.

Could someone tell us how
or should we go out there, start somewhere,
work not only for ourselves

but for our Canada.
A half hour a day spent by
each of the 37+ million of us

(minus the sick, the too-young)
would sure buy a lot
of standing on guard.

JC Sulzenko
(CBC radio broadcast an early version of this poem )

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