Thank you Mayor and Council for this opportunity to address you and the community. It’s my first chance to do something in public in a year and I do not take it lightly. Like all of us, I’ve had my plans stymied at every turn by the Great Unmentionable: a 50 nanometer particle that has stopped the rotation of a 13,000 kilometer planet. Fortunately, if you follow media, you might have noticed that people are turning more and more to poetry to help give meaning to the current confusion. And so I’ve prepared for you –

A Defiant Little Poem for Our Uncertain Times

A poem is a thing you can no more hide
than a fig leaf can hide your mood.
So let the poet throw back the covers and rise

in immaculate nakedness! Let them lift the poem
from their body like a guitar from its case!
Let the poet bless the night with illegal jazz

like in some Cold War Moscow speakeasy
where sweat smells of desperation and fear,
and let the Django chords jangle from their hands

while cigarette-lipped they grin in defiance of disaster!
Oh, dare Death to come, that absurd commissar!
So what if it raids the joint and gathers our papers!

So what if it whips out its notebook! As quick
as Death scribbles your name, the poet will unwrite it,
pulling ink from the page into the barrel of their pen.

Thank you.

Richard-Yves Sitoski, Owen Sound Poet Laureate 2019-2022

Photo by fikry anshor on Unsplash




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