My O Canada

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Confederation

September 16, 2017 | | Arts

O Canada! Our home and native land!
O Kanata! Our home and taken land
land that carried Huron-Iroquois on its back
land they cared for as one would a child
listened to as one would an elder
full of wonder at the bounty that she brings
land that calmed their hunger
pulled them into her skirts when they were sad
gave them pigments to render their lives
on stone and bark and tools for the hunt
the soil cycling life through the seasons
as the peoples of this land
cycled through generations seven upon seven
for thousands of years

and we who came after who yes stole who kidnapped
cannot forget those whose bodies made fertile the earth
whose spirit washed over rivers, lakes, forests and valleys
cannot forget in our youthfulness
to honour these nations and hold ourselves accountable
even as we celebrate even as we sing

O Canada! O Kanata! Our home and cherished land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command
true patriot love that sends those sons to war
their courage fertilizing Mother Earth
seeding a future unfettered by fascism
so that we may speak truth hold beauty
as the highest of the high
and never forget the gravest crime
of the sons and daughters who fell before their time

O Canada! O Kanata! Our home and fertile land!
With glowing hearts we see thee rise
and in the rising hold our values dear
that every man woman gender colour and race
can make a home here
free to make a life to make art to make science
free to live lightly upon the land
and to respect the animals who share our timely fate
who walk with us as friends
or become as food upon our plates
we must learn from them how not to hate

O Canada! O Kanata! Our home and epic land!
Ton histoire est une épopée
une grande histoire captivant
qui parle de bonne grace
ou de mauvaise grace
but in the end we stay close
divided by language but not by humanity
we live as sometimes squabbling siblings
pulled together by what we care about
and as the young would have it
at least for now c’est bon it’s all good
and make no mistake
it is they who will show us the way

O Canada! O Kanata! Our home and endless land!
The True North strong and free!
At our best we stand for peace with strength
and unabashed intent
unbent by warmongers who’d bomb
because there are just too many to dismantle

for we the North declare with aplomb
that bullets can only wound and kill
and that it’s only words among equals shared
in the longhouse of our compassion
that will heal the scars
crisscrossed across the face of nations

O Canada! O Kanata! Our home and wondrous land!
From far and wide we’ve all come here
flush with dreams and hopes
those who come fleeing war
those who come for love and family
refugees, optimists, hipsters
we are all of us brothers and sisters
and the mystery of who we are an open secret
for all to see

O Canada! O Kanata! Our home and giving land!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee
like goalies guarding nets
undaunted in the face of global chaos
unfazed by tyrants near and far
who’d fire slapshots at our souls
firm is how we are
firm in the knowledge
that the good, the true and the beautiful
is what our souls strive for
culture, humanity, inclusivity,
diversity, understanding and compassion
yändia’wich iwayitiohhou’tenh
O Canada, this is who we are
where we are and when

O Canada! O Kanata! Our home and sacred land!
God keep our land glorious and free!
A divine smorgasbord of deities
crowd our temples, churches and mosques
and we trust that they are all
looking out for us as we are for them
and the gloria in glorious
is the sound of voices singing
allelujah, alhamd lillah, allelujah, alhamd lillah
and the freedom to sing godliness as we choose

O Canada! O Kanata! We stand on guard for thee
day by day hope by wish
we’ve travelled across the broad shoulders of this land
generations seven times seven and more
holding fast to the vision we’ve built together
so that the lore of childhood may mature
in a place where the land once carried on its back
and still does the proud Indigenous Nations
and all who came after all who’ve come from away
love this land that sustains us and our dreams
this land that we call home that we call Canada
from farm to rez to city from sea to shining sea
O Canada! O Kanata! We stand on guard for thee

Harry Posner

About the Author More by Harry Posner

Author of four books and two audio poetry CDs, Harry is a freelance editor, proofreader and podcaster.

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