O Canada, I believe: A ‘No Prorogue’ poem

O Canada, I believe: A ‘No Prorogue’ poem

O Canada, I believe we have a problem. PMS: Prime Minister Steve. Canada’s Prime Minister prefers to ignore advice from scientists and diplomats in the warfields, silence watchdogs and whistle-blowers and shutdown dissenters and to let Parliament decide–Later*. A mere war-criminal or -monger, he is Disaster, Capital’s arrogance and greed, personified.

O Canada, I believe our system needs some medicine. When it allows abuses of democratic power by a Minority government leader to evade investigations into the torture of detainees– well, O Canada, there’s something wrong. We need to talk. And we’ve started. We are here.

O Canada, I believe in the energy of our activists and our votes, in the people on this street and all the streets all over our nation and beyond. It’s the energy that’s given us public healthcare, unemployment insurance, minimum wages… Personhood.

O Canada, I believe in the maple leaf – the Manitoba Maple that lives in these parts. I believe in the leaves on trees, the air we breathe, the water that flows and the earth that grows the food we it. I believe in the power of symbol to connect us.

O Canada, I believe we care. I believe in our capacity to care, to take care, of each other in our families and communities, in this province and our country and all around the world. I believe we do it, not for personal gain, political games or polling numbers– We do it because we genuinely care.

And, O Canada, I believe in the strength of diversity. Though partisans would have us divided, we hold together, one voice, united. No! No prorogation!

O Canada, I believe in the power of the people. I believe in the power of the people to create a flashpoint, to make a difference, to take back democracies.

~ Bernadette L. Wagner
January 23, 2010

* from the poem, W.L.M.K. by F. R. Scott


TRM @ Vertigo

Well, in case you somehow escaped my email and Facebook messaging, here’s notice that I’ll be giving a public reading at the autumn opener of the Vertigo Reading Series. Come out on Monday, September 28 to hear a Saskatchewan quartet of writers — Sheri Benning, Randy Lundy, David Sealy and me — share our words. The show gets underway sometime around 7 p.m. at  Aegean Coast Coffee and Tea, 1901 Hamilton Street (corner of 12th Ave & Hamilton St), in Regina.

See you there!

And because I’m feeling generous, a still-drafty poem to honour the work of the Prairie Lily Feminist Society!

There’s a war on women

and the United Nations knows it, created the Convention

on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination

Against Women. CEDAW.

See, duh? It’s true.

There’s discrimination. Otherwise, why

are women 52% of the world’s population

and own only 1% of its land.

There’s a global war on women

but no one’s talking about it, not really.

CEDAW’s not working so well, the UN’s shifted

to Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) to fight an msg headache

the size of which no one wants to believe.

Women world-wide live in poverty, violence, disease

targetted by goals to make change. Goals.

There’s a war on women and it’s happening in Canada, too.

Mulroney and the boyz axed NAC, dissed

women’s work for equality. Chretien kept it up.

Chopped away at women’s programs, goodbye Cretin

and hello Paul Martin, Minister of Finance turned PM,

carried the axe for far too long.

There’s a war on women

and now Harper’s leading the charge.

No need for equality. Mandates

for feminism. Organizations which won significant rights —

Charter rights

reproductive choice

employment equity

same sex marriage —

goodbye.  A left-wing fringe group? Huh?

There’s a war on women

and it’s happening here, in Saskatchewan, too.

Ah, but the NDP, they’re different!

Not! Romanow and Link, lovers of feminists

until elected, tossed us aside in favour of debt reduction, big biz,

derided us as too radical. Quietly called us feminazis. Calvert

closed Women’s Sec, purged policy wonks

too Keynesian, captured headline praises from Fraser’s Institute,

that rightwing think tank the Harperites love.

There’s a war on women

and it’s here and now

Premier Wall won’t appoint a woman

to be Responsible for our status,

won’t balance gender on Enterprise SK,

and assigns 12 men to decide our uranium future.

He’d rather men continue their war

leaving us in poverty, earning 70 cents on a dollar

while his boyz call us dumb bitches .

There’s a war on women

and it’s right here and now

It’s right in your face, if you dare open

your eyes.

There’s a war on women

and we’re standing up to it.

Brave lilies, a feminist society, organizing.

—B. L. Wagner

Belated Solstice Greetings

For you, dear readers, in celebration of the Winter Solstice:

From the vast void

She is born, a long, slow explosion of light.  Dark
specks sing through the eons
red and blue. A planet collects
songs and stories, gathers to spin
pretty around one star, learns
days from dust and liquids, heat and air,
breathes human life.  

			         Stardust, I am
alive and alone on this dark path, creating
safe to name truth,
overcome trouble, honour beauty
avoid denigration in a world consuming
itself in its frenzy for freedom from despair,
in a race lost to keeping up -- those Jones's
desperate to have it all, never arriving --
in a population swallowed, in a more-more campaign
for mutations processed, frozen, packaged
resold to tomorrow's consumers.

Ah, but our dreaming collective
finds small notes, sings big
bright stars of morning into lives,
rekindling joy in the return of light.

-- Bernadette L. Wagner

The season’s best to you and yours!